Elections only next year: Sonia Gandhi


Hyderabad : Congress president Sonia Gandhi Friday virtually ruled out early elections to the Lok Sabha and the Andhra Pradesh assembly.

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Addressing a mammoth rally of farmers in Jagfampeta in East Godavari district, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson said that elections would be held on time next year, and appealed to the people to support the Congress to continue the good work it was doing for the farmers, women and other weaker sections.

Lashing out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and its former ally the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Gandhi asked what they had done for the farmers while in power at New Delhi for six years and accused them of hypocrisy. She blamed them for the poor condition of the farmers.

Referring to the massive farm loan waiver announced in the union budget and several pro-farmer schemes announced by the central and state governments, Gandhi claimed that the Congress and the UPA were the “best friends” of farmers.

“It is only the Congress party that cares for the dignity, for the security and for the prosperity of each and every individual, especially for the poorest of the poor,” she said.

The Congress chief hit out at the TDP over the minimum support price for paddy, an issue the main opposition party in the state had used to target the ruling party.

“In the last four years of UPA government, the minimum support price for rice has been increased by Rs.190 per quintal while when the BJP and NDA, supported by the TDP, were in government at the centre, throughout their six years in government, the minimum support price for rice was raised only by Rs.60.”

During her daylong visit to the state, Sonia Gandhi inaugurated two important lift irrigation projects in the state. She dedicated to the state the Thota Venkatachala Pushkara lift irrigation scheme built across river Godavari to irrigate 200,000 acres of land of East Godavari district.

Later, she flew to Warangal district and launched the Devadula lift irrigation project, the biggest of its kind in the country. It will irrigate lands in four districts of the Telangana region.

On her last stop in Hyderabad, she inaugurated the new international airport named after her late husband and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.