Launching a tirade against the Third Front, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Tuesday it has become a "fashion" these days to form new political fronts but asserted that none of them could pose a challenge to the Congress.
"You are hearing of the formation of a third front. There can even be a fourth, fifth and sixth front as well but can anyone form a front that can fight poverty, terrorism, communalism, illiteracy and backwardness?" Gandhi asked at an election rally at Vizianagaram in north coastal Andhra.
"It is ridiculous that Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu, who is spearheading the so-called third front, had till recently rubbed shoulders with the communal Bharatiya Janata Party and supported the National Democratic Alliance that was mired in corruption, scandals, Tehelka saga and the communal carnage in Gujarat," the United Progressive Alliance chairperson lashed out.
At a rally in Karimnagar, the hotbed of movement for separate Telangana state, Gandhi sought to reach out to the voters saying Congress is not against the formation of separate Telangana state. "Telangana is a priority issue for us. Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy has already announced on the floor of the assembly that Congress is not against Telangana," she said. Claiming that massive development work have been taken up in the region by the Congress government, Gandhi said the elections are a referendum on its performance.
Attacking the BJP for raking up the issue of terrorism and portraying Manmohan Singh as a weak Prime Minister, Gandhi said, "Our leaders like Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi laid down their lives for the sake of the country. We are not the ones to be cowed down by terror". Without naming BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani, Gandhi said, "the one claiming to be a strong leader had sent dreaded terrorists out of the country when he was the home minister. The same terrorists later planned and carried out the attack on Indian Parliament. The then home minister is now dreaming of becoming the country's prime minister. Fine, he has every right to dream. But the Congress' dream is totally different. A dream of leading India on the fast track of development," Gandhi said while addressing people in Vizianagaram.
Enumerating the achievements of the UPA government, Gandhi said, "We have launched many historic schemes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme and mid-day meal scheme that benefited 15 crore school-going children across the country and also enacted new laws for the protection of women and unorganised workers." Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy accompanied the UPA Chairperson to these rallies. Gandhi later left for Kozhikode in Kerala from Visakhapatnam.