Sonia raises farmers’ suicides again, says graft rampant

Sonia Gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi Monday once again raised the issue of suicides by farmers, blaming the state government's "anti-people" policies for it.

"Central government has written off farmers' debt worth crores of rupees. But why farmers of Gujarat are still reeling under the burden of debt and committing suicide? The anti-people policies of Gujarat government are responsible for this," Gandhi said while addressing a well-attended election rally at Dakor, a pilgrimage in central Gujarat district of Kheda.

More than 15 farmers had allegedly committed suicide in the past few months following poor monsoon in Saurashtra and Kutch regions.

Without taking names, the UPA chairperson also hit out at the BJP government on the development issue. "They are talking of development. However, it was farsightedness of past Congress leaders which helped set up industries in this far away state of Gujarat. IPCL and ONGC in Nandeshwari (Nandesari near Vadodara) and car plant in Halol, these all came up when Congress ruled. Today, why are 10 lakh people in the state unemployed?" she said.

Gandhi also countered the BJP government on corruption . "There is talk of corruption all over, but these people are adept at covering up with use of money power," she said.

The Congress chief said the Centre had allocated 1.40 lakh crore to Gujarat for construction of 25 lakh houses under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Despite 73 per cent of that amount having been released, Gujarat government had built only 40,000 houses and thus denied government benefits to 90,000 poor families, she claimed.

"Now they are promising to build 50 lakh houses. But I assure you, they are giving hollow and deceptive promises," Gandhi alleged.

The Congress chief also addressed a rally at Sidhpur in north Gujarat where she raised the issue of malnutrition and made references to the historical importance of the place that is known for erstwhile Gujarat ruler Sidhraj Jaisinh. "This is the land of King Sidhraj Jaisinh and Solanki rulers and it is known for doing something new. Now, it's time to do something new in election," she said while appealing to people to support the Congress.

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