Sonia Gandhi sounds poll bugle in Karnataka, attacks BJP

Sonia

Virtually setting the ball rolling for next year's assembly elections in Karnataka, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today launched a scathing attack on the ruling BJP and asked her party men to set aside individual ambitions and work together to bring it back to power.

"People want a change from the political corruption and the corruption of the BJP. And they want a change from the divisive communal politics of the BJP", she told the delegates of a Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee meeting here.

For so many reasons, the people were disenchanted with BJP, she said adding the so called "party with a difference" had been fully exposed and its "double standards" on corruption and political corruption are more than apparent to the people.

Gandhi said for the past so many years, the Congress had not been able to receive people's mandate in Karnataka for "many, many reasons including party's own weaknesses".

Congress is not able to convert people's goodwill into electoral success, she said.

Gandhi told the Congress leaders that individual ambition should not come in the way of the party's larger interests. Party must come first and the overriding objective must be to bring the party back to power.

On a rare visit to the state to rejuvenate the Congress which has been out of power for last six years, Gandhi participated in the 105th birthday celebrations of Siddaganga Math head Sri Sri Shivakumara Swami who has a large following among the dominant Lingayat community, in a bid to woo it back to the Congress.

Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa belongs to the Lingayat community.

In a blistering attack against the BJP, Gandhi said its Government had betrayed the mandate of the people and destroyed all what Karnataka stood for and is known for.

The BJP government had "scant respect" for rule of law, she said, noting that the post of Lokayukta had remained vacant in Karnataka for almost an year in contrast to UPA's determination to enact a strong Lokpal bill which was "held up in Rajya Sabha by the BJP".

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