Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 18: Hitting the campaign trail in Kerala, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today slammed the political opponents of the Congress who believed in ''negative agenda and politics of confrontation'' and called for a renewed mandate for the United Democratic Front (UDF) for continuance of development agenda.
''Our political opponents believe in negative agenda. They do one thing when in power and other things when in the opposition. They only have a politics of confrontation,'' she said at election meetings at Neyyattinkara, about 20 km from here, and also at Kottayam.
Addressing her first election rally at Kottayam, she said only the UDF had a positive and constructive agenda, which stood for the ''conducive growth of all sectors in the state.'' She asked the people to give a fresh mandate to the UDF so that it could ''continue with the development programmes it had started.'' Kerala has accomplished heights in many spheres, she said adding ''but much more has to be accomplished for the farmers, plantation workers, traditional workers, the youth and women in the state.'' Later at Neyyattinkara, she asserted that the UDF's return to power in Kerala was needed for the state's ''overall development'' and said that it was only the UDF which had the modern vision to meet the challenges faced by the state. ''Only the UDF has the capability and determination to keep up social security and development of the state,'' the Congress President said.
Noting that Kerala was the model for all other states in the country, Ms Sonia Gandhi said Kerala was a state which had the best education and the best primary health facility and was developed in many fields. ''I believe that this developed Kerala has to be preserved and protected. And it has to be taken even further to ensure jobs for all the youth and security to the farmers,'' she said and stressed that only the ''UDF could assure this.''
Outlining the development works of the UDF, Ms Gandhi said the Oommen Chandy government had transformed the investment climate of the state and had created more jobs. The UDF government had restored the economic stability in the state, which had been completely shattered by the previous LDF government. The government had attracted many new infrastructure projects to the state, launched poverty alleviation programmes like 'Akshaya' and health insurance scheme for the poor, she said. In the plantation sector, Ms Gandhi noted that the market prices for coconut and rubber had gone up during the UDF regime.
The Self-Help Groups (SHG) in Kerala was a model to the country, she said adding that the other states were emulating Kerala.
Addressing a public meeting at Kollam, she said those who criticised the UDF government should think of the kind of work done by the Oommen Chandy government. She also asked the people to look at the work done by the UDF government and the attitude of other political parties to its development agenda.
Addressing an election rally at Pathanamthitta she claimed that the Centre had been adopting a sympathetic attitude towards Kerala's needs. The Manmohan Singh Government had taken the initiative in releasing sufficient forest land for implementing the Sabarimala development project.
She said ''a vote for the UDF is a vote for the dignity, security and prosperity of each citizen of the state.'' ''Only the UDF can assure a better future for each and every citizen of Kerala. The United Democratic Front alone has the capability and determination to keep up the social security and development of the state,'' she said.