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Dr Singh is pride of Punjab and India: Rahul

By Amitabh Shukla in Amritsar
May 11, 2009 17:10 IST
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Strongly batting for Manmohan Singh as the next prime minister, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Monday described him as not only the pride of Punjab but the entire country.

"Manmohan Singh is pride of Punjab and India," Rahul, who is on his third visit to the state during the current Lok Sabha elections, said.

Hailing Dr Singh, Gandhi said that at the beginning of the elections there were two candidates for primeministership -- L K Advani and Manmohan Singh.

"But, when the election campaign is ending, it has now become clear that there is only one name for the post of prime minister and that is Manmohan Singh," Gandhi said, exuding confidence that Manmohan Singh would become the prime minister again 'so that all sections can prosper'.

He said the United Progressive Alliance government will always stand for the aam aadmi (common man) unlike the National Democratic Alliance, which during its tenure, ignored various sections of society, including the poor, the farmers and the Dalits.

"When the Congress government came to power in 2004, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and we all made just one promise that we will work for the aam aadmi, farmers of Punjab, mazdoor (labourers), Dalit and that it will be their government. We functioned as per our promise," he said, slamming the NDA for 'thinking' about the rich and upper classes.

Claiming that the Opposition parties were making a new promise daily, Gandhi ridiculed NDA's slogan of 'India shining' during the last Lok Sabha elections in 2004, saying the slogan in English was only meant for the privileged.

He said the BJP leaders told the entire country that India is shining. "But they did not go to the houses of the poor, the farmers, the Dalit and other weaker sections. They just went to the houses of the rich. You (voters) then showed them the door," he said.

The biggest achievement of the UPA in its five year rule was employment guarantee scheme providing for 100 days of assured employment during the year, the young Congress leader said.

Listing out other achievements of the government, he said the UPA waived agriculture loans worth Rs 70,000 crore and facilitated every citizen of the country to secure any information under the Right to Information Act.

Referring to former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu, who was a key ally of the erstwhile NDA government, Gandhi said he had looked down on the farmers 'saying there are call centres and business and so there was no need for agriculturists'.

"There is great need of farmers. They provide us food. We are not going to leave them," Gandhi said.

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Amitabh Shukla in Amritsar
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