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Sonia slams communal agenda of BJP

Congress President Sonia Gandhi wearing a Khasi traditional dress at an election rally in Shillong on Monday. (EP)
Correspondent/PTI SHILLONG, APR 13:
Published on 14 Apr. 2009 1:14 AM IST
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Congress President Sonia Gandhi today accused the BJP of being remotely controlled by fundamentalist and communal forces, which she alleged was “weakening India in fighting terrorism”. “Our main opponents at the national level are the BJP, whose politics is based on creating hatred among people of different faiths. They are controlled by the fundamentalist and communal forces,” Gandhi said, while addressing an election rally here. The two Lok Sabha constituencies in Meghalaya will go to polls in the first phase of election on April 16. Gandhi who arrived here amidst tight security cover and the 24-hour bandh call given by the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), however, said that the Congress was committed in fighting terrorism, uphold the secular nature of the country and guide it to a road of prosperity. Describing BJP politics as “politics based on creating hatred among people of different faiths”, the Congress Supremo reminded the electorate of the Christian dominated state of what the saffron party had done in Kandhamal in Orissa, Godhra in Gujarat and Malegaon in Maharashtra. “ You must ask yourself, can such people who have so much hatred in their hearts, who divide people by building walls which separate communities able to fight terrorism and uphold the secular nature of the country?” she asked. Describing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a person with a ‘clean image’, Gandhi said the Congress party is the only party that could provide stability and good governance. Gandhi defended Singh against the unfounded attacks of the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate LK Advani saying “he might not have spoken out publicly but it was through his diplomatic pressure that he was able to get our neighbour (Pakistan) to agree that these terrorist were in fact citizens of Pakistan.” “It is something that never happened before and it was mainly of our Prime Minister and his diplomatic pressure brought upon Pakistan and other countries that the facts relating to the Mumbai attacks were brought to light,” Gandhi said. She, however, reminded the people that when Advani was the Home Minister, a terrorist who was captured and kept in jail here was released and escorted as a guest to Afghanistan. Sonia Gandhi said the released terrorist then went to Pakistan and planned attacks against India, including the attack on Parliament. ‘Today one of them (Masood Azhar who later founded the Jaish-e-Mohammed) is masterminding terror acts in India,” she said. “Can you trust such a person (Advani)?” Gandhi questioned lambasting the BJP leader for attacking Singh as incapable of facing challenges. ‘The Congress party would never compromise on terrorism and pledges to fight terror very firmly.’ Gandhi was on a daylong tour of the northeast and addressed election rallies in Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar, Meghalaya capital Shillong, and a poll meeting in Silchar. ‘We need to wage a war against terrorism and also communalism...the BJP believes in false promises and propagandas,’ the Congress president said. Talking about the pre-poll tie-up between the BJP and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in Assam, the Congress president said such alliances were just for power and not in the interest of the common people. ‘The AGP is a party based on false promises and hopes and the two of them got together for power alone,’ she said.

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