Sonia pits Cong's secular policy against BJP's divisive ideology

Sonia pits Cong's secular policy against BJP's divisive ideology

 Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday kicked off the party’s campaign in Kerala, ahead of the Lok Sabha election, with an attack on the BJP’s divisive ideology.

Addressing a gathering of party workers at a special convention in Kochi, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson said the Lok Sabha election was critical for the implications of its results.

“The 2014 election is not just about our record. There are many achievements that our government is proud of but this election is more important than any other because it is about our country’s future,” she said. The idea of India as one nation that transcends barriers of caste, colour, religion and language is under threat from forces who try to change the country’s “heart and soul”. Gandhi pitted the Congress’ credentials of secularism against those endorsed by its principal Opposition party that sought to divide people and weaken the country’s democratic institutions.

Countering the Opposition call for a change after 10 years of UPA rule at the Centre, Gandhi questioned the relevance of change based on “untested promises”. She also targeted the CPM, the main Opposition party in Kerala, questioning its commitment to welfare of the poor and attacking its politics of violence. Without naming the party, she said the choice for the voter in Kerala was between the Congress and a party “imprisoned in an ideology that’s irrelevant now”. Recalling impressive returns the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) gained in the 2009 Lok Sabha election in Kerala, she said the front could better the result this year.

Winding up her address at the convention, attended by all top leaders in the state, including Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, new Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president V M Sudheeran and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, Gandhi also had a pointer to factional fights that have affected the party. “For me, there’s no this or that group… We are all one group; we are all Congress men and women and that is how we will fight this electoral battle and win it,” she said.

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