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Disrespect of PM is disrespect of nation: Sonia

By Amitabh Shukla and Indukant Dixit in Varanasi
April 05, 2009 19:34 IST
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Launching a blistering attack on the BJP for its oft-repeated description of Manmohan Singh as a weak Prime Minister, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Sunday said disrespect of the prime minister amounted to disrespect of the entire country.

Addressing an election rally in Varanasi, she questioned the saffron party's slogan of "strong leaders and decisive government".

"The Prime Minister is a leader of the country and not of a party. So, if one disrespects the Prime Minister, he or she disrespects the entire nation," Gandhi said.

Withount naming BJP leader L K Advani for his criticism of Manmohan Singh as a weak Prime Minister, she said: "How can he (Advani) be a strong leader in whose tenure Parliament was attacked and several terrorist attacks took place? Terrorists who were caught were also released."

"It was an NDA minister who flew with the terrorists to Kandahar and it was these terrorists who stepped up their ante against India," she told another rally in Ballia.

"Today that Home Minister (Advani) is dreaming to become the Prime Minister. Everyone has the freedom and right to dream. But the dream of the Congress is to see India on road to development. We see our political success in the success of the youth," the UPA chairperson said.

"Those, who are terming Manmohan Singh as a weak PM are viewing the challenge of terrorism from a communal angle," Gandhi said.

Reiterating her faith in Singh, she said the Congress would seek votes based on development works carried out by the government headed by him.

Wooing voters in temple city Varanasi, Gandhi, who will file her nomination from Rai Bareli Lok Sabha constituency on Monday, said for the Congress, the definition of a strong leader is one who does great work for the country.

In this connection, she referred to Mumbai terror strikes and said owing to diplomatic offensive unleashed by the UPA government, Pakistan had to admit the reality.

Gandhi said "the UPA government never tolerated terror, nor will it ever do so."

Fighting terrorism was a national challenge and the Congress was capable of handling the challenge, she said at rally at Bansgaon in Gorakhpur district.

Recounting achievements of the Manmohan Singh government, she said it brought the nuclear deal for the country, which would help in electrification of remote villages.

Ridiculing the performance of the NDA government, she said: "Everybody remembers what they did when they were in power."

"You need a strong government and a leader with qualifications and experience...who has all these. Only Congress and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh," she told the rally in Varanasi.

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Amitabh Shukla and Indukant Dixit in Varanasi
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