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Development above politics, says Sonia

Written by: Staff
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Bhopal, July 3 (UNI) UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi today said development and public welfare issues were above ''narrow-minded'' politics.

''I will not make any political statement from this platform but I definitely urge that politics should not be an obstacle to development and public welfare,'' Ms Gandhi said in a brief address after launching the Union Urban Development Ministry's ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) here.

The Congress supremo's call for a non-partisan approach to development was also stressed by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachauri.

Though arch-rivals on political ideology, senior BJP and Congress leaders -- who were attending the programme -- described development as supreme and added that politics should not be a hurdle to it.

Ms Gandhi pointed out that the emphasis should not be on which side benefited from development but the public should be the prime focus.

''Loss accruing from lack of development has to be borne by all.

Development work and implementation must be adequately monitored and every citizen should profit from such schemes,'' she added.

Among those present were Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, state Industry Minister Babulal Gaur, Urban Administration and Development Minister Jayant Malaiyya and city Mayor Sunil Sood.

Earlier, Mr Chouhan assured that differences of opinion would not be allowed to intervene in implementation of schemes linked to development and public welfare.

''When narrow-minded politics leads to levelling of allegations and counter-allegations, everyone's features appear ugly. Words such as anger, hatred and cunning do not have any place in my dictionary and in the political arena, I prefer the word 'coordination' to 'struggle','' he claimed.

The chief minister felt that poll-time political rivalry ought to be considered an exception and every party should unitedly come forward for undertaking development work. Thanking Ms Gandhi for including this city under JNNURM, he also praised Mr Pachauri's role in this context.

''Development is crucial and both the UPA chairperson and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh share that philosophy. Departmental action for including Bhopal in JNNURM was completed in a single day,'' claimed Mr Pachauri.

UNI SD-AC VD HS1423

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