| Union defence minister A.K. Antony speaks to reporters in Shillong on Saturday. Telegraph picture |
Shillong, Feb. 16: Union defence minister A.K. Antony today exuded confidence that the Congress would form the next government in Meghalaya, in the face of inflation, hike in petrol and diesel prices and the latest helicopter deal scam rocking the nation.
Antony, the latest star campaigner to fly into the state to boost the campaign for the Congress before the February 23 Assembly polls, however, refused to spell out the number of seats his party would garner from among the 60 constituencies.
“Frankly speaking, I am very confident that the Congress will form the next government in Meghalaya,” he said here this afternoon.
Hoping that the people here would vote for the Sonia Gandhi-led party, the Congress leader from Kerala said, “I know Meghalaya, and the people here know very well that the Congress is the only national party which is secular, and which can keep this country together.”
He said his party’s belief in and practice of secularism and the conviction among the people of Meghalaya about secularism is one “binding force” between the people here and the Congress party.
“A government here, with the co-operation of the Centre, will do a lot of things for the people of Meghalaya. The present government is doing a lot of things for the people,” Antony said.
On repeated hike in petrol prices, he said, “Such issues will not have an impact on the poll outcome as people know what we are trying to do to solve this problem.”
“We are trying to contain inflation. What can we do at the national level? Oil prices are shooting up like anything, it is beyond our control,” he said.
Asked about the chopper deal scam which has rocked the nation, the minister said, “The CBI is doing its job and those who are guilty will be punished.”
On the BJP allegation that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was also involved in the alleged scam, he said, “It is very sad. There is a limit to these kinds of allegations. I told you the CBI is probing he whole thing. Let the inquiry report come out.”