Aligarh, Apr 4: After facing opposition flak over her meeting with Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today said her party has worked for the social and economic uplift of Muslims and would continue to do so if voted again to power.
Gandhi asserted that her party led UPA government had piloted several schemes for the "social and economic uplift of Muslims" and made a strong pitch for inclusive growth saying if the country has to progress then "all sections of the society should get equal opportunity to grow".
"We have largely implemented most of the recommendations made by the Sachar Committee and will implement the remaining recommendations in the future," she said addressing a public rally here.
The BJP yesterday termed her meeting with Delhi's Jama Masjid Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari as a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and asked the Election Commission to take suo motu note of it. BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had also targeted Gandhi over the meeting alleging that she was resorting to "rabid communalism".
Gandhi today stressed that all talks about development become meaningful only if it implies "progress of all sections of the society, especially the poorest and most marginalised".
The Congress President accused the BJP of divisive politics saying it identifies people on the basis of caste and religion, unlike her party which works for the country's economic development and uplift of the weak.
"On one hand it is Congress ideology which wants to take the country in the direction of economic development, work for the weak, has concern for the weak and on the other hand is BJP's ideology," she said, adding, for the BJP, people are "patriotic only if they are with their ideology and not patriotic if against them".
This approach, Gandhi felt "would not succeed in a country like India which needs an all embracing pluralistic social and economic ethos".
She lauded Aligarh Muslim University for being a "proud symbol of India's culture of unity with diversity" and said this city symbolises the "syncretic culture of the country as people of different faith stay together and flourish".
Gandhi said the ensuing Lok Sabha election is a fight between two opposite ideologies and exuded confident that voters will not make a "wrong choice" and would choose the "right path" by electing Congress government.
"Congress has been at the helm for 55 years and I am proud that the path of development on which the country is today stands is the outcome of Congress' hard-work, sacrifice and outlook," she said.
Gandhi lauded the UPA's achievements, including bringing Right to Information, among other things and said people have voted Congress eleven times to power which shows that they have voted for it on the basis of its good work.
The Congress chief promised if her party is voted to power it would bring legislation which would guarantee the right to habitation and the right to get good health scheme which were designed to give a fair deal to weakest sections of society.