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Sonia Gandhi cautions against parties making tall promises

Saturday, 5 April 2014 - 3:32pm IST | Agency: PTI

Congress President Sonia Gandhi today 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.

The Congress president said the UPA had taken concrete steps for protecting the interest of people whose land are being acquired in the name of development.

The land acquisition law brought by the Centre would ensure payment of adequate compensation to the land losers and prevent harassment. Without the consent of the people and without guarantee of proper rehabilitation, no land can now be acquired, she said.

In order to provide employment in rural areas and improve the economic condition of villagers the MGNREGA programme was introduced by the UPA, she said.

Congress, she claimed, had always been working sincerely for the rural population and a host of programmes including Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana have been launched by the UPA government to substantially improve the living conditions of villagers.

However, states like Odisha have not been sincerely implementing these programmes, she alleged.

Claiming Congress as a pro-poor party, Gandhi said one of the major goals set in the party's election manifesto is to provide free medical treatment and medicines to the needy.

Besides, pucca houses would be provided to all for which a law would be brought, she added.

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