Sonia hopeful of another term: PM talks of turbulent times

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New Delhi, May 22 (UNI) The UPA today celebrated its four-year rule at the Centre amid heavy rains, with its Chairperson Sonia Gandhi affirming that the coalition would return to power again by remaining united and winning the goodwill of the people and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stating that the years gone-by had been ''good'' but ''turbulent'' times were ahead due to the steep rise in the prices of petroleum products and foodgrains in the global market.

At a function held on the sprawling lawns of the Prime Minister's official residence at 7 Race Course Road, Dr Singh released a 63-page ''Report to the People'' that listed the achievements of his government by presenting a copy to Ms Gandhi.

Ms Gandhi and Dr Singh, in their address, lavished praise on one another for providing able leadership and vision to the coalition.

Listing inflation and terrorism as areas of continued concern, Dr Singh said his government was determined to tackling both effectively and expressed the hope that prices of essential commodities would moderate in 8-10 weeks due to the measures taken by the Centre and the expected normal monsoon.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, who had been invited to the anniversary celebrations, did not turn up. However, SP General Secretary Amar Singh was present. Left leaders, barring those from RSP and Forward Bloc, also took part in the celebrations.

In her brief address in Hindi that lasted a little over five minutes, Ms Gandhi said the ''Report to the People'' gave an accurate account of UPA's performance without any exaggeration.

In his over 15 minutes' address, Dr Singh said ''Control of inflation has been a priority concern...Terrorists and other subversive elements have continued to cause concern on the internal security front.'' Among those who attended the function were Cabinet Ministers Arjun Singh, Pranab Mukherjee, A K Antony and P Chidambaram, leaders of UPA's allies (Mr T R Baalu of the DMK, DMK chief M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi, PDP chief Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, PMK supremo P Ramadoss) and MPs of the coalition.

The cloth tent put up on the sprawling lawns was leaking at some places as heavy rains lashed the city.

Ms Gandhi said it was a bit difficult... Editors: Pl pick up from line one, para two of DI 66, POLITICS-UPA-ANNIVERSARY TWO LAST NEW DELHI.


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