Shimla: Unruffled by the BJP campaign against Congress on corruption, Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday lashed out at the party for adopting double standards and not taking action against its own leaders facing graft charges. (JPN/Bureau)
"BJP will have to be answerable and accountable to people and tell what action it has taken against its own leaders facing charges of corruption," the AICC President said.
Addressing an election rally at the historic Ridge Ground here, she said, "Congress is the only party which has taken strict legal action against corrupt leaders but the BJP is only talking about corruption and not taking any action against its own leaders".
Sonia claimed credit for bringing the Right to Information (RTI) Act, which has proved an effective tool against corruption.
"The BJP is not against corruption but against Congress and using it as a tool against the party," she said.
Suggesting that BJP's record on checking corruption was not bright, she alleged that the opposition party stopped the passage of the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha, despite the fact that the legislation was an important tool in the fight against graft.
Gandhi also utilised the occasion to propagate the cause of FDI in retail, asserting that the move would help the hill state known for its horticulture products, specially apples.
"It is especially beneficial for farmers in Himachal as shortage of cold storages would be over and produce of farmers will not rot," she said.
Accusing the BJP of playing politics on FDI, she said that the chief ministers were free to implement or not allow FDI in retail but the BJP was unnecessarily making an issue out of it.
Admitting that price rise is a serious problem affecting the common man, Sonia said the UPA government is taking various steps to check price rise but the states are also duty bound to bring down prices.
"The Congress government has decided to give three more subsidised LPG cylinders raising the number to nine but why the BJP government in Himachal has not done so and slashed VAT," she asked.
Accusing the BJP government in the state of not utilizing the liberal financial assistance of crores of rupees given by the Centre for various developmental programmes and schemes, Sonia said, "no development is visible in the state and people are suffering".
The UPA government gave massive assistance under JNNURM for development of Shimla town but nothing has been done and funds under MNREGA and road projects have not been utilised, she said.
Claiming credit for development of Himachal, she said the Centre helped the state with an open heart and gave several major projects to it besides opening medical colleges, Central Universities and Fashion technology Institutes. She urged the people to bid "goodbye" to the BJP and bring back Congress for speedy and uniform development.
Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma hit out at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for using "intemperate" language and said that it only reflected "his culture and thinking".
"Modi has brought the level of political debate to the lowest ebb and thrown to winds all norms of decency and BJP should apologise to the people for this".
Sharma strongly refuted the charge of discrimination against the BJP ruled state by the Centre and said that the Centre has given assistance of Rs 17,000 crore to Himachal, but Chief Minister PK Dhumal was making false allegations of discrimination against the Prime Minister.
He also denied the allegation of former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani that the Centre curtailed the industrial package and said that the package had not been withdrawn and would continue till 2013 and reviewed thereafter.
Shimla: Unruffled by the BJP campaign against Congress on corruption, Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday lashed out at the party for adopting double standards and not taking action against its own leaders facing graft charges.