Debating India


I’ll not backtrack, says Sonia Gandhi

Wednesday 29 March 2006, by DHAR*Aarti

"Eerie silence in Opposition after my resignation"

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Congress president Sonia Gandhi holds aloft a sword at a rally in Rae Bareli on Tuesday. - Photo: AP

RAE BARELI (U.P.): Launching a scathing attack on her political opponents for targeting her in the office of profit controversy, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday said she would continue her fight against injustice.

"I will neither lose nor backtrack," she said addressing her voters here. This was her first visit outside the capital after she resigned from the Lok Sabha and as chairperson of the National Advisory Council (NAC) in the wake of the allegations that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government was planning to bring in an ordinance to "protect" her.

In an emotional, 20-minute speech in Hindi, Ms. Gandhi said she had always shared her happiness and grief with the people of Rae Bareli and it was her responsibility to tell them the truth behind her resignation.

"Every stone is thrown at me, guns are trained at me and every arrow is aimed at me. I am even blamed for natural calamities that hit the country. And, when the office of profit controversy came up, my opponents remembered Sonia Gandhi. I am their enemy number 1," she said evoking a thunderous response from the thousands of people gathered on the Government Inter College ground.

She said she had faith in the people of Rae Bareli, with whom her family had maintained an emotional bond for the past five generations and hoped that they would give a fitting reply to those who levelled allegations against her. Promising the people that she would contest again from this constituency, she recalled her party’s contribution to nation building.

Ms. Gandhi said there was an eerie silence in the Opposition camp after her resignation and all issues of morality had taken a backseat. "They are now trying to save each other and looking for a way out."

`Not an office of profit’

Ms. Gandhi said she was being targeted by those who had never been able to rise above the politics of "vested interest." The NAC was not an office of profit but was just a body that advised the Government on implementation of the promises made under the National Common Minimum Programme. The NAC played an important role in the ambitious National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme.

Earlier in the morning, Ms. Gandhi was given a rousing welcome at the Lucknow airport.

See online : The Hindu

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