Mangalore: Tearing into BJP on corruption issue, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Thursday sought to take the battle to its court accusing it of running 'corrupt' governments in states while 'just pretending' to fight graft.
With UPA coming under a barrage of attacks from opposition and anti-graft activists, Gandhi said it was only Congress and the alliance led by it that took head on the 'cancer of corruption'.
"We all know corruption is a disease, a cancer. Who does it affect the most, it is the poor. No other party has done what Congress and UPA have done to fight corruption," she told a public meeting ahead of assembly elections due early next year in Karnataka.
Gandhi said it was UPA, not NDA, which brought in the RTI Act because of which "these scandals are coming out."
Maintaining that Congress was "serious" about fighting corruption, she alleged it was BJP which stalled the Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha. "Is BJP just pretending to fight corruption?" she said.
Targeting BJP-ruled Karnataka hit by several scandals, she also accused the party of running "corrupt governments" in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
She alleged people in the state were fed up with BJP because it had made "empty promises" and "betrayed" their mandate.
"Corruption and failure have marred BJP's governance in the state," she said adding people would give a "right answer" to it.
In a pep talk to state Congressmen, who present a picture of a divided house, she said they had a great responsibility to convert the anger against the BJP government into votes and urged party leaders to work in unison. "Whenever Congress has fought unitedly, it has swept elections in the country."
"We cannot remain complacent and take things for granted...I appeal to you to sink your differences, work together to bring back Congress party to power," she said.
Gandhi also defended the UPA government's decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail sector, saying by doing so "we are ensuring a direct link between the farmers and the market and also enable consumers to buy at lower prices."
Gandhi said FDI in retail would not only ensure better prices for farmers but also create jobs and new infrastructure.
Charging BJP with dividing society on communal lines, she said "We have to see the forces of communalism are defeated...We must stand up and fight these forces. We must fight communalism regardless of where it originates from."
Defending the recent diesel price hike, she said the government did not have control over international oil prices which have gone up from 40 USD per barrel ten years ago to 140 USD per barrel.
The government continued to subsidise kerosene which must be done, but it was compelled to increase the prices of diesel and put a cap on subsidised LPG cylinders. "In spite of that, the UPA government is doing its best not to inflict further hardship on the people," she said.
Seeking to turn tables on BJP which had attacked the Centre's decisions, Gandhi said "I want to ask the BJP government here why it hasn't increased the cap of six cooking gas cylinder to nine? This is what our Congress government has done."
She also questioned why Karnataka government did not reduce VAT on diesel like Congress-run governments had done. "What are you doing about it? What are you doing to reduce hardship of the people of your state?"
On Karnataka government's grouse that the Centre was not helping the state, she said the UPA government had in the last five years provided Rs 80,000 crore as against Rs 30,000 crore during NDA rule.
She also sought to know whether the funds had reached the people and the programmes they were meant for.
First Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012, 08:41