Cong, not BJP-led NDA, concerned about farmers : PM, Sonia

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New Delhi, Mar 9 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi today attacked the BJP-led NDA for doing precious little for the farming community during its six-year rule, and said only the Congress was concerned about the welfare of farmers and the marginalised and would continue to provide them relief in the years to come.

Addressing a rally organised by the AICC at the Ramlila Ground to thank the Government for the Rs 60,000 crore farm loan waiver and other proposals announced in Budget 2008-09, the two Congress leaders said the 'shining India' projected by the NDA was in fact the dark years when millions of tonnes of rice and wheat was imported and the farmers and the poor were living in misery.

''Those who did nothing for the farmers are now shedding crocodile tears for them.... Ulta choor kotwall ko daate (it's a case of the guilty accusing the judge).... One reason why the farmer is sad is because of the anti-farmer, anti-poor policies of the previous NDA Government,'' Ms Gandhi said.

Calling farmers the country's 'annayadataas' (breadwinners), she said it was the Government's duty to waive their Rs 60,000 crore loans.

''It was a historic step that will benefit 40 million farmers and raise their self-esteem,'' she added.

Dr Singh said the Government would continue to work for the welfare of the farmers, the poor and the common man.

Ms Gandhi also lambasted BJP senior leader L K Advani for hitting out at the Prime Minister in Parliament on the terrorism issue, and said her Government did not needa certificate from those whose regime's highlights were the Kandahar hijack, and the Akshardham and Parliament terror strikes.

''Our rivals may make any allegation. We are least concerned.

We just want to move on the path of development,'' she said.

Alluding to the recent attack on the north Indians in Mumbai after inflammatory statements by Maharashtra Navnirmaan Sena chief Raj Thackeray, Ms Gandhi said no leniency should be shown to those who whip up passions on the basis of communalism and religion.

''Everybody has the right to live anywhere in the country. And it is everybody's responsibility to provide that right,'' she added.

Among others present at the rally were External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit, her Haryana counterpart Bhupinder Singh Hooda and PCC chiefs of Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Delhi.

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