| Sonia Gandhi and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot during campaigning in Dholpur on Thursday. (PTI)
Karauli (Rajasthan), Nov. 20: Sonia Gandhi today slammed the BJP and its allies, saying corruption had become their “dharma (religion)”.
The Congress chief was addressing a 7,000-strong crowd at Karauli, around 250 km from Jaipur, on the first leg of her electioneering in Rajasthan today.
During the course of her speech, Sonia did not name former Union minister Dilip Singh Judeo who had to step down after being caught allegedly accepting bribes to help an Australian firm obtain mining rights in Chhattisgarh and Orissa. But she said the BJP had been projecting a person involved in financial corruption as its chief ministerial candidate in Chhattisgarh. “BJP aise vyakti ko Chhattisgarh ka mukhyamantri banana chahti thi,” she said.
The Congress chief said the BJP and its allies were competing with each other in corruption and involvement in scams.
Sonia said the BJP had become a “ghulam (slave)” to outfits wishing to spread hatred, violence and social tension.
Sonia said only the Congress could usher in social harmony and unity and added that those claiming to be the custodians of culture were tarnishing the country’s culture. “Sanskriti ke thekedar hi use duba rahe hain,” she said.
Warning the people to be wary of those who try to “spread rumours and confusion on the eve of every election”, the Congress chief asked voters to think about Rajasthan’s development.
She said the previous BJP government had left the state in a bad shape, with its coffers empty. Sonia went on to list the achievements of the Ashok Gehlot government in education, improving roads and water supply and in strengthening panchayat raj institutions.
The Congress chief said her party would continue the good work if it remained in power. In a thinly-veiled reference to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, she added: “Keval kavita se raj dharm nahi chalta (mere poetry cannot provide good governance).”
Sonia slammed the Centre for not supporting Rajasthan adequately when it faced successive droughts. Saying that the Centre should have been more sensitive to the situation, she praised the chief minister for handling the crisis well.