Those who believe in violence wish to cling to power: PM

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Surat, Dec 7 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that in Gujarat, the land of the Mahatma, there are still those who believe in violence in order to cling to power.

Addressing an election rally here, Dr Singh refuted the Gujarat government's claim that the Centre had meted a step-motherly treatment to the state. All non-Congress ruled states be it Bihar, Uttar Pradesh or Gujarat are being treated equally and there is no discrimination, Dr Singh asserted.

In fact, much of the development in Gujarat has been due to the efforts of the UPA government at the Centre, he claimed.

However, although the country was witnessing a 9 per cent growth, the growth rate in Gujarat was far less, Dr Singh said while adding that Gujarat had the potential to become the number one state in the country but was not developing as it should.

On the nuclear deal impasse, he said since the UPA was a coalition government, there were problems. However, the deal was good for the country, he emphasised.

On the appreciating Rupee, Dr Singh admitted it was a cause for concern. But, Finance Minister P Chidambaram was seized of the matter and concerns of the exporters' are being taken into account, he said.

Later, addressing mediapersons, Dr Singh avoided a direct answer to a question on Sohrabuddin Sheikh and the statements made in this connection by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

He said the Congress believes in judicial process and the rule of law. ''We believe in communal harmony. However, those who violate this rule will be given a befitting reply by the people,'' the Prime Minister said.

He also referred to the pending 2002 riot cases in the courts and said it is the duty of the state government to ensure that law and order is maintained.

UNI

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