Will give fitting reply to graft charges: Sonia

Congress president Sonia Gandhi Sunday challenged the corruption charges levelled against the UPA government, and said the party and the UPA government will give a fitting reply to the allegations.

"The opposition is levelling several allegations of corruption against the government. What is the truth and untruth in these allegations needs to be understood well. We will give our opponents a fitting reply," a combative Sonia Gandhi told party supporters.

"I admit, corruption is a cancer...is a disease," she said in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi at a mega rally of the Congress here in support of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's policies.

"But we have fought this disease before and we will continue to fight this disease with all the strength once again," Sonia Gandhi said.

"We will fight all graft charges against us and none found guilty  will be spared. We wanted to introduce Lokpal Bill, but we were not allowed to," she added.

The Congress chief, indirectly hitting out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Nitin Gadkari, said: "Those who are talking about corruption are finding themselves neck-deep in corruption."

"They are mired in corruption charges themselves. That is why they are making false allegations. They lecture us on corruption, but are corrupt themselves. 'Jo durse  ke liye gaddha khodta hai, unke liye kuan tayyar rehta hai (Those who dig a pit for others don't realise a well is ready for them too)," she said.

Sonia Gandhi also slammed the opposition for "trying to weaken the democratic institutions and roots" of the country.

Noting that the opposition had not allowed key legislations to be passed or allowed issues to be discussed in parliament, Sonia Gandhi said the Congress would not allow them to succeed in their bid.

"Opposition has stalled public welfare measures, avoided debate on corruption in parliament as they themselves are neck deep into it. The opposition has stalled parliament repeatedly. They have run away from debate," she said.

"Congress is a party that has always protected the nation's constitution," Sonia Gandhi said.

"Congress is a party that has always protected the nation's constitution," she said.
Stressing that the Congress was a party of the common man, weaker sections, the poor and farmers, Sonia Gandhi said no other party in the country could compete with it on secularism.

"The voters reposed faith in the Congress in 2004 and 2009. A few parties have not been able to digest this. We will once again do well in the coming polls," she said.
Claiming that the country and the government had done well under Manmohan Singh's leadership, the Congress president said the nation faced the challenge of unemployment because of the sheer numbers.

"I know that inflation has hit the common man. The problem is that the oil prices have quadrupled in the international market and we import 80 percent of our requirements.
"We have not increased the prices of food grains under the public distribution system and we are also planning on a bill that will guarantee food security," she said.

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