Puducherry: Accusing the BJP-led NDA government and AINRC regime here of doing nothing for the welfare of the people of the union territory, Congress President Sonia Gandhi Thursday sought mandate for DMK-Congress combine in the May 16 assembly elections to ensure all round development.
Addressing a public meeting here, she charged BJP, AINRC and also AIADMK with having caused damage to Puducherry and said their common identity was "anti-people and anti- Puducherry."
The Centre had slashed funds for various welfare schemes to the union territory besides neglecting air and railway connectivity while farmers were 'left to their fate' during recent torrential rains, Gandhi said.
Several welfare schemes implemented during the previous UPA regime in Puducherry had now been stopped, she alleged, adding this included the free breakfast scheme for school children.
Targeting AINRC, formed by Rangasamy after breaking away from Congress, she alleged crimes were on the rise and corruption was rampant in Puducherry and these had a combined effect of businesses forced to leave the union territory.
Gandhi also said some of these parties had openly advocated for merger of Puducherry (with Tamil Nadu), an apparent reference to AIADMK's move in 1979, and asserted "This is something our party will never allow to happen."
It was therefore the time to defeat "the opportunist parties" so that the identity, diversity and plurality of Puducherry be preserved. Only the Congress-DMK alliance can preserve the identity of Puducherry, she said.
"Our alliance will always strive to ensure bright future for Puducherry and we will work tirelessly for welfare of all sections of people," she added.
While Congress is contesting the elections in alliance with DMK, the AINRC, AIADMK and BJP are fighting on their own.