Panaji: UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Friday favoured an approach of welfare and development to defeat left-wing extremism and insurgency and bring back youth involved in it back to the democratic mainstream.
   
"We know there is left-wing extremism and insurgency in many districts of the country which have a sizeable tribal population. We can defeat them only by properly implementing rural development programmes," said Gandhi while addressing a convention on "Empowerment to Tribal women" organised by Mahila Congress.
   
She called upon both the Centre as well as states to address the issue seriously, saying it is their fundamental and constitutional obligation to ensure development of tribal areas.
   
"The Centre and state governments should do their fundamental and Constitutional duties in helping tribal areas with full earnest.
   
"I feel that if we do this, we will be able to bring those people who have adopted the culture of violence back to the democratic mainstream," Gandhi said.
   
Addressing tribals and mahila Congress workers, she called upon them to campaign for tribal rights in states where the Centre's welfare programmes were not being properly implemented.
   
"It is the responsibility of mahila Congress and you all to create awareness of various central welfare schemes at the block and district level and guide the tribals in such a way that make use of them. Wherever such schemes are not implemented, you should struggle and also resort to a movement (andolan)," she said.

Sonia's first public rally in Goa post surgery

Moreover, Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s public rally in Goa on Saturday will be her first ever since her surgery in August, a senior Congress leader said in Panaji on Friday.
The party has planned a massive rally at the Campal parade ground here, where Gandhi will address a crowd of 50,000 people.
     
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Subhash Shirodkar said this is for the first time she would be moving out of Delhi, after she underwent surgery for an aliment in August and returned to the capital in September.
     
"This is her first ever public rally too," he said.
     
The event is being held in the run up for the Golden Jubilee celebration of Goa’s liberation from Portuguese rule.

The state was liberated after Indian Army’s Operation Vijay on December 19, 1961.
     
Gandhi, who was supposed to make her first public speech after recovery, in Uttarakhand on November 11, could not make it owing to health issues.
    
"This is auspicious occasion for us. First because we are celebrating the Golden Jubilee and second because Gandhi will be down to address the crowd," Shirodkar said.
    
Gandhi, he said, will take stock of last 50 years of Goa liberation and also will speak on the roadmap for the state for next 25 years.
    
Two other central ministers – Union Defence Minister A K Anthony and Union Minister for Corporate Affairs Virappa Moily -- will also be in Goa to participate in the functions.
    
The state government has organised several functions back to back events on Saturday which includes laying of foundation stone for Vijay Smarak (Victory Memorial) at Aguada plateau, 10 kms away from here.
    
Meanwhile, her visit has already started attracting controversies. Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM), a forum propagating Indian languages in elementary education, has said that they will be showing black flags to Gandhi.
    
BBSM Convenor Shashikala Kakodkar said the Congress party has been compelling English language in elementary education, which needs to be condemned.
    
The bus owners lobby in the state have already said that they will not allow private buses to be pulled out from regular routes to ferry congress workers for the rally.
    
All Goa Private Bus Owners Association General Secretary Sudip Tamankar on Thursday met State Transport Director Arun Desai, complaining that the transport department officials were intimidating the bus owners to ply for Congress workers.
    
Tamankar said that they will be preparing a list of private buses that violate the law and ply for Congress rally.
    
Gandhi’s rally is also being watched from the illegal mining issue point of view.
A senior Congress leader said that Gandhi might make a statement on illegal mining issue that has plagued the state government.
    
"She will surely make a statement on Regional Plan 2021," he said. RP 2021 is a futuristic land use plan, which has been opposed by NGOs and village panchayats.

Agencies