Bhiwani (Har): Accusing Narendra Modi government of trying to weaken laws on land acquisition and rural employment brought in by UPA, Sonia Gandhi on Saturday asked people to be wary of BJP and INLD, claiming their sole aim was to "grab power for vested interests".
"Today, when polls are before us, our rival parties, in a bid to capture power, have come out of their houses and even out of the jails," she said addressing a rally in Tosham in this Harayna district ahead of October 15 Assembly election.
The Congress President said the electorate should not fall into the "trap" of the BJP which "promises a lot but delivers little". She also took a dig at INLD leader and former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, who was serving a 10-year imprisonment in a graft case but was campaigning while on bail on health grounds, for his remarks that if his party comes to power he will take oath from Tihar jail.
"Jail say sarkar chaleney walon ko bhe kursi chahiyee (Those promising to rule from jail only want power). Other parties too want their share of power. They want power not because they want to serve you and wish to undertake Haryana's development, they are in the race because they want to grab power for their vested interests," Gandhi said.
The Congress President attacked the Narendra Modi government's decision to decontrol prices of crucial drugs. Gandhi said the decision was taken ahead of the Prime Minister's visit to the United States.
"Prime Minister recently visited United States and only time will tell what was gained and what was lost....
"But one thing which he (Modi) did, what I think is very wrong, this will benefit American drug companies to big extent. As a result, cost of life saving drugs will go up and common man will have to suffer," she said referring to the lifting of control on drug prices.
She accused BJP of "promising moon" during run up to the Lok Sabha elections. "But now they want power for personal gain. Do not fall into the trap of their lies...During UPA's rule, we approved one rank one pension for ex servicemen...We do what we say," she said.
Gandhi said earlier land from farmers was taken away by industries without adequate compensation. But after the implementation of the Land Acquisition law, farmers are getting their due.
She also said the rural employment guarantee law was another milestone of the UPA government.
"We implemented MNREGA. It has changed the lives of crores of families. It has especially benefited women from Dalit families and the weaker section.
"But BJP government is preparing to weaken the law. This will be grave injustice to those who depend on it for their livelihood and are searching for jobs," she said.
"They allege that Haryana has fallen behind in the past ten years, but you have yourself witnessed the progress made by the State during this period. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda with the help of his colleagues and Congress workers has worked hard for the state's development and to make all sections happy," she said.
Gandhi said contrary to the claims of the Opposition, Haryana has developed as a progressive state under Congress rule and was way ahead of others in terms of education and power infrastructure.
Attacking Om Prakash Chautala's INLD, she said during its rule, "law and order machinery had broken down and you will recall that a reign of terror prevailed, doing business was difficult, farmers lives was filled with problems and you faced difficulties even in getting basic amenities like water, power, better roads."
Lashing out at the BJP government at the Centre, Gandhi alleged, "They have no concern for poor, Dalits, farmers and common citizens. They do shed crocodile tears for them. To befool them, they can adopt any method."
"During Lok Sabha polls, they promised the moon.... Today, they want to capture power in Haryana. Their sole aim is to find fault with others and crown themselves. I know you know their true colours and will not fall into their trap," she said.
Gandhi lauded the contribution of the people of Haryana in various fields including country's freedom struggle and green revolution.
"Your state is front ranking in terms of development and this is so because in 1966 after Haryana was carved out (as a separate State), most of the times you supported Congress," she said.
Commending the role of Haryana soldiers in the country?s defence, she said, "We took steps like One-rank, One-pension ...In future also, Congress will strive to work for welfare of various sections of the society."
"Congress does not believe in making hollow promises. What we say, we fulfil with full dedication and honesty. Victory of Congress (in Haryana polls) will be the victory of rights of the poor. When Congress government is formed, forces of social justice will be strengthened," she said.
With Bhiwani region considered a stronghold of the late Bansi Lal family, the Congress chief tried to strike a chord with the voters, saying "in the development of the state, in addition to the contribution of other leaders, Chaudhary Bansi Lal played a key role."
"Today, we also remember Chaudhary Surender Singh," she said.
Surender Singh was a former Haryana Minister who died in a helicopter crash over nine years back. Surender's widow and Bansi Lal's daughter-in-law Kiran Choudhary is seeking re-election from Tohsam.
Sonia Gandhi concluded her speech saying "Jai Hind" and "Jai Haryana" before leaving the podium. But shortly afterwards she returned to the stage and greeted the women on the occasion of "Karva Chauth" festival, during which women fast and pray for the well being of their husband.
Addressing the rally, Chief Minister Hooda claimed that the "tall promises" made by the BJP before the Lok Sabha polls were only aimed at duping the people.
"Tomato, potato and onions have become precious commodities. The BJP befooled the people with their promises earlier, but now they are telling the public to take this bitter pill (price rise)," he said.
Hooda also hit out at the INLD, alleging that it was misleading the public on various issues and showing "scant regard" for the law as well, with its chief openly declaring that he will take oath as the next Chief Minister from Tihar, if the party is voted to power in Haryana.
Besides Hooda, Congress General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed, Haryana Minister Kiran Choudhary, State Congress chief Ashok Tanwar were among others present during the rally.