Khariar: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday cautioned people against political parties making `tall pre-election promises` and asked voters not to get misled and carried away.
"The country is passing through a very crucial period and a phase of trial. There are people who talk big and approach voters with tall promises," Gandhi told a party election meeting in this backward region of Odisha, often described as the country`s hunger zone.
"You should never trust these people who show you dreams. You must realise that they are not with you at all as their only agenda is to grab the kursi (chair) and not to serve people," she said without naming any political party or leader.
The people must not get misled by taking these parties at their face value and seriously apply their mind before casting their votes in the forthcoming Lok Sabha and assembly elections, the UPA chairperson said.
She claimed that Congress had always been with the poor, dalits, tribals and the downtrodden and had backed the people during crises.
Citing the instance of Niyamgiri Hills in the state, she said, Congress stood `solidly` behind the tribals of the region when the BJD government was all out to hand over the hills to a company for mining.
"Rahulji immediately took up the matter and ensured that the rights of the tribals were fully protected and prevented proposed mining in the area despite state government`s attempts."
As far back in 1967 Indira Gandhi addressed problems faced by the people of drought-prone Kalahandi in Odisha and established Indravati multi-purpose project for irrigation of vast areas.
Despite many hurdles the UPA government had brought the Food Security Act which provides rights on ration for all to usher in a hunger-free India.
UPA also implemented the Forest Right Act to safeguard the interests of the tribals and forest dwellers. The measure, she said, would go a long way in ensuring welfare of the tribals by giving them rights over land.
Attacking Modi for blaming the Congress for not checking
corruption in the country, she posed the question to the BJP leader, "If this was so, why did Congress bring RTI which has highlighted many a corruption case?"
Seeking to turn the tables on him, Gandhi asked for Modi`s track record in fighting corruption in Gujarat.
"People found involved in corruption cases are in his cabinet. For the past 10 years, the post of Lokayukta is lying vacant," she alleged and attributed this to efforts to "hide corruption under his government in the state."
The Congress President alleged that the BJP`s poll agenda was not for the country but for votes.
"Similar is the case of LJP, the new friend of BJP and those who were with them for 17 years, who change faces frequently," she said in a veiled reference to JD(U) of Nitish Kumar.
With Congress in-charge for the state Satyavratha Chathurvedi and PCC chief Ashok Choudhary present on the dais, Gandhi said despite the fact that Congress was not in power in Bihar for past many years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s government provided liberal finance to the state for its development.
Saying that the country stood on a "do raha" (two paths), she appealed to the voters to make a sanguine choice between Congress-led UPA which stands for unity and progress of the country and BJP, whose aim is she alleged was to divide the society on the lines of caste and religion.
She listed achievements of the UPA government by bringing progressive legislations like MGNREGA, Land Acquisition Bill, and Food Security Act among others.
Raghubansh Prasad Singh in his brief speech made reference to 2002 Godhra riots and the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee asking Narendra Modi to follow "raj dharma."
"How can such a person be Prime Minister of the country?" he asked.
Sonia Gandhi`s election rally at Muzaffarpur on the last day of campaigning was delayed by more than one hour. She wound up her speech in 15 minutes at 4:35 pm.