Sonia targets Modiís record, avoids taking him on directly
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Hours before the Gujarat assembly elections were announced Wednesday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi virtually launched her party's poll campaign by attacking the record of Chief Minister Narendra Modi's BJP government, and claiming credit for some mega projects in the state. Sonia, however, avoided directly targeting Modi, who has over the past few days sought to pin her over the cost of her foreign visits.
Promising to build a new Gujarat during her 20-minute speech at a farmers' meet, Sonia said the Gujarat government had failed to bring Narmada water through the Narmada Yojana, a Congress project, to parched Saurashtra where farmers have committed suicide this year.
"The Narmada project is a Congress project, which is why it is named Sardar Sarovar project," Sonia told the gathering of an estimated one lakh people at the Race Course ground. "But I want to ask this government why Narmada waters have not reached Saurashtra in the last 10 years when the project was built for the farmers."
Without naming Modi in this connection, Sonia said "it is the habit of some to take credit for everything". Modi had only last week announced that the Sardar Sarovar Yojana would be expanded through a sub-project called Sauni that aims to bring Narmada water to all 115 dams in Saurashtra. Sonia said she was aware of the water and fodder crisis and the crop failure in the predominantly farming region of Rajkot, and would ask the state government to conduct a survey for the Centre to be able to approve a crop insurance scheme.
Sonia also hit out at the BJP for what she said was the difference in the national opposition party's "walk and talk" over corruption. She said that while the Congress had enacted the Right To Information Act to curb graft, the BJP had not allowed the Lokpal Bill to be passed in the Rajya Sabha. "They do not allow Parliament to function. Are they against corruption or are they against the constitution and democracy?" she asked as she went on to criticise the Gujarat government for not appointing a Lokayukta.
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