Millennium Post

Sonia begins quiet campaign in Gujarat

Sonia begins quiet campaign in Gujarat
Launching a strong defence of recent economic reforms decision of the United Progressive Alliance [UPA] government on Wednesday, the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi accused the opposition of misleading people on foreign direct investment [FDI] in retail. She argued that the FDI policy would ensure that farmers got appropriate price for their produce.

She made these charges at a farmers' rally in Rajkot. However, she avoided engaging the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's verbal attack on her on the issue of the expenses of her foreign travels and said that she was not bothered about personal attacks on her.

'Whenever we have taken steps in the interest of the nation, there have been all kinds of attacks against us.... Neither have we bothered earlier, nor will we worry about them in future,' she said launching the party's poll campaign in Gujarat at a farmers' convention here.

On the issue of hike in diesel prices and putting a cap on LPG cylinders, Gandhi asked, 'Shouldn't the state governments also play a role in giving relief to people when the centre was doing it?'. She asked why Gujarat and other Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP]-ruled states were not taking cue from the Congress governments in states to reduce taxes.

'What happens is that the produce of farmers is bought at the cheapest rates possible and is sold in cities at the highest possible price, I want to ask, “Isn't it the right of farmers to get right price for their produce”,' she said.

Gandhi said that Congress always believed that unless farmers and villages prospered with the pace of development in urban areas, India could not be termed a progressive country in the real sense.

She also defended the UPA government's decision to hike fuel prices. 'The oil imported during NDA's rule was at USD 32 per barrel, but today it is at USD 140 per barrel. Fertiliser and other things also have to be whenever the prices of these commodities go up in the international market, there is a considerable impact on us,' Gandhi said.

She also criticised the Gujarat government for levying a high VAT in the state.
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