New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday made poll pitch for next general elections while addressing AICC in Jaipur. In her address, she highlighted the performance UPA dispensation at the Centre and focused on major national and international issues.

Speaking over the issue of corruption, she said that government has initiated a five-point programme, including drafting laws to combat corruption. Speaking on UPA government’s ambitious Direct Cash Transfer scheme, she said that the scheme will curb the role of middlemen and effectively reduce corruption.

Expressing grief on the December 16 gang rape incident in Delhi and subsequent death of the victim, the Congress president said that the deceased victim is a symbol of women and children who suffer from similar fate and her sacrifice would not be allowed to go in vein. She stressed that safety and security is a fundamental constitutional right of every individual and it should not be violated.

She also promised to personally press for the passage of Women's Reservation Bill in the Parliament.

Gandhi woos youth, women and middle class
Addressing AICC a day after Rahul Gandhi's anointment as party's Vice President, Sonia Gandhi targeted youth, women and middle class in the party's quest for widening its base ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
She advised party leaders to work for the welfare of all and not restrict themselves to their "favourites".
"I am sure if we make the right efforts with unity, there is no doubt in my mind why we will not get the mandate again," she said.
Gandhi said she was happy with the participation of the younger colleagues in the brain storming conclave and hoped that it will help the party project new leadership.
With apparently the huge middle class in her mind, she spoke of women's empowerment in the context of the gang rape of the Delhi and of the need to fight corruption in public life.

Gandhi said after the Burari session of Congress, the UPA government had stepped up its fight against corruption and has introduced various measures in Parliament including the Lokpal Bill.
She said the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme, nicknamed 'aapka paisa appke haath' (your money in your hands) will benefit people by transfer of money meant for pensions and scholarships directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.
The DBTS will eliminate corruption by middlemen, she said terming graft as a "deep-rooted malice" affecting all sections of the society.
Under attack over slow response to public protests in the wake of the gangrape incident in Delhi, Gandhi said people were right in demanding answers and actions in the case as safety of women was a fundamental right.
The sacrifice of the girl who was brutally raped and assaulted in a bus last month would not go in vain as it has shaken the conscience of the nation, she said in her address.
Gandhi said the young gang rape victim was "tragically the symbol of women and children who suffer similar fate" in the wake of denial of justice.
She also said the atrocities on women and children was a reflection of "shameful" social mindset which needed to be changed.
In her opening remarks, she deprecated the "shocking remarks" made by public figures in the wake of the rape incident and said they were unacceptable.
Gandhi said the UPA government has drafted laws for women's empowerment like providing them protection against sexual harassment at workplace and providing them better representation in panchayats.
The Congress president said she would personally press for the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill pending in Lok Sabha.

Gandhi made a strong pitch for electoral reforms and political funding saying people are getting disillusioned with the political process and there is a need to address the issue with sensitivity.
"We have to admit that people are getting disillusioned with the political process. We have to understand what the causes of this disillusionment are and we have to do away with this with sensitivity," Gandhi said striking an introspective note.
She also wanted that the attempts to tarnish the image of political politicians and democratic institutions should be countered.
Gandhi also announced setting up of a special group within the party which would consider all suggestions and come out with a programme at the earliest.
"We have to make now time bound programmes to do it," she said.


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