Millennium Post

Sonia aggressive, PM cautious at UPA dinner

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government completed three years in office in its second successive term on Tuesday, and it has let the world know that it survived, despite the odds stacked against it. Though it has better numbers this time as compared to what it had in UPA I, it has had a more difficult time and had to deal with many aggressive allies. Both a sense of achievement in completing the three years and a feeling of part helplessness was reflected through the statements made by the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his residence 7, Race Course Road, in the capital.

The dinner also saw new political affiliations emerging, with importance  given to the Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav. Despite not being part of the UPA, Yadav shared the dias with Singh and Gandhi.

Singh accepted that the government needed to do better. Highlighting the achievements of the government during the last three years, he asserted that the fact that the economy of the country grew by about seven per cent in 2011-12 showed that India was resilient despite an adverse international situation.

Talking of the aam aadmi, the prime minister said that the poverty in the country had declined at twice the rate that it did before the UPA government's tenure. 'The agricultural growth rate has risen to 3.3 per cent per annum, and the food grain production has crossed the 250 million tonnes for the first time in our history,' said Singh. He added that the rural wages have increased during UPA's tenure.

The prime minister, however, said that there are still unfinished business in front of the government. 'Despite these real achievements, there are uncertainties and a large unfinished agenda before us,' he said. Gandhi and Singh released a report The Report to the People of its performance.

Accepting that there is frustration and anger in people on the issue of corruption, Singh said that the government is working to address this issue through both legislative and administrative measures.

Gandhi asked the government to prepare itself for the 2014 General Election. 'We are aware that only two years are left when we seek a new mandate from the people. We are fully aware that the result of that will not depend on our promises but on the nature of work done by us,' she said.

Hitting out at the opposition parties, Gandhi said, 'Our opponents are targeting us, and many a times, level baseless allegations against us. But, we have shown restraint.'
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