Unfazed by the criticism of the Opposition and anti-corruption activists, the Congress has sounded the poll bugle. Thousands of people thronged the Ramlila Grounds here on Sunday on the call by the party leadership.
Party president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress General-Secretary Rahul Gandhi justified the recent policy announcements on FDI in retail and limiting LPG subsidy, and said such steps will help strengthen the economy.
The Congress President said the UPA is committed to the welfare of the common man of the country. She said the FDI in retail will help farmers and will generate employment. "This will help the youth of our country," she added.
She said the Opposition is yet to digest the fact that the Congress won the general elections in 2004 and 2009.
In a fierce attack against the Opposition, she said those who accuse the Congress of indulging in corruption have drowned in corrupt activities. She said corruption is a cancer that eats the money, which should go to the poor in this country. She said the Opposition is trying to destabilise the democracy and is not committed in passing legislations like the Lokpal Bill.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Congress’ aim is to create a new India. He said the recent steps are in continuation with the economic reforms started in 1991. He said the UPA has done a lot of work in the last eight years for the benefit of the people. He added that increase in the oil subsidy was affecting the credibility of the country's economy. “We have not increased kerosene prices. This decision is for the benefit of the poor people. We want our farmers to be happy and prosperous,” he added.
AICC General-Secretary Rahul Gandhi said it was up to the youth of the country to change the system. He said the Opposition lied to the people by saying that FDI in retail will bring in no benefits for the farmers. He added that the BJP was trying to bring FDI in retail without much safeguard mechanisms during the NDA regime.
He said steps like food security legislation will improve the living standards of the poor. “We want to ensure that the poor do not sleep empty stomach. We want to ensure the poor farmers’ lands are not taken away,” he added.