Sonia launches Congress campaign in Orissa


Bhubaneswar : Congress president Sonia Gandhi Thursday slammed the Naveen Patnaik-led Orissa government for its failure on several fronts, as she kicked off her party’s campaign in the state.

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Addressing a rally at Jamunda village in state’s Bargarh district, some 385 km from here, Gandhi criticised the state government for taking credit for the schemes launched by the central government.

The UPA government, led by the Congress, had started a scheme of selling rice at cheaper rate but the state government is trying to mislead people by claiming credit for it, she said.

She said development had been hampered in Orissa because of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Biju Janata Dal (BJD) coalition and now they are blaming each other after the alliance ended, she said, calling on people to vote for a party which takes care of the poor.

Describing the Congress as a party which works for the poor and highlighting the achievements of the UPA government, she said the central government has been sending huge sums of money to the state under various schemes but the state government was not able to spend them.

Gandhi also accused the Orissa government of not providing remunerative price to the farmers for their produce.

Describing Orissa as a peaceful state, the Congress chief said some people were trying to create disturbance and that needs to be foiled.

“People of Orissa are peace loving, but seeds of hatred are being sown by some outfits,” she said.

People must remain alert against divisive forces and maintain peace, brotherhood and unity, Gandhi said.

The Congress president, who is on a day-long trip to the state, was scheduled to address two more rallies – one in Koraput district and another in Berhampur.

Orissa will go to poll in two phases – April 16 and April 23 – to elect 147 members to the state assembly and 21 members to the Lok Sabha.