Sonia asks party workers to gear up for next year's elections

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Mumbai, Jun 19 (UNI) Claiming that the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government at the Centre was the only successful coalition government that had given justice to all sections of society, Congress president Sonia Gandhi exhorted party workers to make the people aware about its achievements and gear up for next year's elections in Maharashtra.

Addressing the concluding session of a day-long party workers meeting at the National Sports Complex in Goregaon here, Ms Gandhi said the Congress was the only party that had considered the interests of all sections of society, including farmers and the poor and downtrodden Her nearly 15 minute address was focused on launching of the election campaign for Maharashtra, where elections are due in October next year. She also asked the party workers to maintain unity.

''Maharashtra has always supported the Congress and the state had given many leaders like Lokmanya Tilak and Gopal Krishna Gokhale,'' she said, without forgetting to mention the name of Dr B R Ambedkar.

''The UPA Government has implemented most of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) including the loan waiver for farmers, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNRUM) and several other schemes.

''The Mid-day meal scheme for the children is one of the biggest programmes in the world, which has been implemented,'' the UPA Chairperson said.

Earlier, addressing a mammoth rally of farmers and women at Loni in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, Ms Gandhi said by waiving-off farmers' loans worth Rs 71,OOO crore, the UPA government had taken a welfare measure in the interests of the farmers, which no previous Non-Congress government had done.

''This shows our committment to the cause of the economically backward and poor people,'' she said.

Ms Gandhi lashed out at the opposition for not coming out in support of the loan waiver scheme for farmers.

After offering prayers at Shirdi temple, Ms Gandhi said it was the responsibility of the party to come out in support of the farmers and weaker sections of society.

On the rising prices of essential commodities, she said the surging oil prices in the global market had added to the worries of the government, which was now taking all possible measures to control inflation.

(Editors: pl pick up suitably from Sonia series) UNI TEAM OBB LPB KN2027

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