Barnala, Punjab: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday tore into the Gujarat development model, saying the common man was suffering and “God save the country from this model”.
Sonia was addressing her maiden rally here in favour of Congress candidate Vijay Inder Singla, where a day before Modi had talked about the Gujarat model of development.
She also made a scathing attack on the SAD-BJP government in the state and charged the state leadership with indulging in drug-trafficking.
Sonia said, “These days, Modi is hard-selling the Gujarat development model as Modi model… you know what is happening in Gujarat model?…Sikh farmers, who are settled in Gujarat for 50 years, are being forced to leave the place, a large population is without drinking water, every second child is malnourished.”
She said, “People ear ning more than Rs 11 are not being considered for the BPL benefits in the Modi model, while 45,000 acres of prime land is given to a single businessman on throwaway prices. If this is the Gujarat model, may god save the country from this sort of model. “I hope voters will make the right choice by rejecting the opposition’s bid to vest power with a single man.” She termed the BJP as communal, divisive and power-greedy.
In her 13-minute speech, Sonia also questioned the silence of the SAD over the eviction of Punjabi farmers by Gujarat. “Rather than raising voice against the BJP, Akalis a re colluding with them and they are partners in this atrocity against Sikhs,” said Sonia.
She also raised the issue of the mining mafia. “It seems the SAD-BJP leadership is busy filling their pockets. They are indulging in all illegal practices — be it drug smuggling, illegal mining or goonda tax.”
Accusing the state gover nment of failing to curb the growing drug menace in the state, she said, “The youth in Punjab have become addicted to drugs. Your gover nment is not concer ned about it at all.”
She said, “Yeh Badal sahib garajna jaante hain, barasna nahin jante (Badal knows how to talk loud but does not deliver),” she said, adding, “They (SAD-BJP) forget everything after attaining power.”
On the law and order, she said , “What to talk of the common man when the life of police is not safe in Punjab.”
“Due to the misgovernance of the state gover nment, Punjab has tur ned bankrupt. What type of gover nment is this which cannot pay salaries for three months? The elderly are not getting pensions,” she said.
To woo the significant number of Dalit voters in Punjab, Sonia said, “The state government has failed to work for the welfare of Dalits.”
She said the United Progresive Alliance gover nment sent a lot of funds for the Punjab gover nment but all were misused or siphoned off by the state gover nment.
“Question the SAD-BJP gover nment as to where they spent crores of rupees which the United Progresive Alliance had given to Punjab for welfare activities,” she asked the public.
She said , “It’s the voters who have to decide between the Cong ress, a par ty which talks about inclusive g rowth of all sections of society and empowerment, or a Bharatiya Janata Par ty-led opposition which wants to vest all power in a single man. I hope voters will make a right decision by voting for the Congress,” she concluded.