With the recent communal violence weighing on her mind, Sonia Gandhi today said the country's secular ethos require that all communities move forward shoulder-to-shoulder on the path of development and a government needs to maintain peace and harmony to ensure this. "When your own government ensures an environment of peace and harmony, there is development in every direction, then only there is prosperity," she stated.
Every section of society should move forward together... shoulder-to-shoulder. This is India's secular culture.... and foundation of governance," Gandhi said at the foundation stone laying ceremony of a Rs 37,230-crore refinery and petrochemical complex here. Gandhi's remarks came in the backdrop of the recent communal violence in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh which left 48 people dead and thousands of others displaced.
Also her party has been targeted by the opposition BJP with its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi alleging that Congress was wearing a "burqa" of secularism to hide from real issues of development. The UPA Chairperson said the central government led by Manmohan Singh was committed to all-round development, inclusive growth and empowerment of poor, tribals and women.
Hailing Ashok Gehlot government's flagship schemes including free medicine and diagnostic facilities in government run hospitals, Gandhi said that refinery and petrochemical complex will give a huge revenue impetus to Rajasthan. "The revenue so generated would be used in public works and uplift of poor," she said, adding "I am sure the coming days and years would take this Barmer region to the path of progress and prosperity, and will bring a major change...for that we are dedicated and committed". Rajasthan would be the first state in the country to use its own crude oil being explored in Barmer for its oil refinery which would provide 25000 jobs, she said, adding it was a major step for new industries in the state.