Sunday, Jun 08, 2003
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By Prafulla Das
The Leader of the Opposition in the Orissa Assembly, Ramakanta Mishra, and the OPCC chief, Sarat Patnaik, offer a garland to the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, at a meeting in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. The AICC treasurer, Motilal Vohra, and the former OPCC chief, Janaki Ballav Patnaik, are also seen. Photo: Ahoke Chakrabarty
Addressing a well-attended rally at the Exhibition Grounds here this afternoon, she said the NDA Government's "non-performance" would be her party's major plank during the coming Assembly polls. The BJP and its allies had done nothing for the people except raise empty slogans and make tall promises, Ms. Gandhi added.
Taking pot-shots at the BJP for its `politics of division', she said, "rajniti ka maqsad samaj mein todphod karna aur bis phailana nahin hai, rajniti ka maqsad logon ka seva karna hai (politics did not mean dividing people and spreading poison, but serving all sections of society)".
Severely criticising the Biju Janata Dal-BJP Government in Orissa, Ms. Gandhi said people in the backward interiors of the State were not getting food and were being forced to sale their children. "This was not seen when the Congress ruled the State." Even though the BJD was part of the ruling alliance at the Centre, the latter was not extending the necessary help to Orissa, she added. Charging that the Centre had deceived the State by not going ahead with the construction of the Indian Oil refinery at Paradip, she said the fate of the National Aluminium Company project was also shrouded in uncertainty. Various public sector undertakings that had come up during the Congress rule were being closed or sold out.
Various measures were being taken to fight poverty, illiteracy and other problems in the Congress-ruled States. Reiterating the slogan "Congress Ka Haath, Garib Ke Saath" (the hand of Congress was with the poor), she said her party wanted to bring about a change in the lives of all sections of society. Reminding the gathering about Indira Gandhi's last speech made at Bhubaneswar, she said the Congress could face all odds and obstacles if the people remembered those lines.
Three former Chief Ministers, J.B. Patnaik, Hemananda Biswal and Giridhar Gamang, the AICC treasurer, Motilal Vora, the AICC general secretary (Orissa), Kamal Nath, and the State Congress chief, Sarat Patnaik, attended the rally.
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