Kollam (Kerala), Feb.16 ANI | 2 years ago

Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi has accused the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party of only wanting uniformity, as opposed to the Congress wanting to promote unity.

Addressed a Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) rally in Kerala's Kollam District, Gandhi said that workers welfare is the Congress Party's main agenda.

Belittling the regional Communist Party of India -Marxist (CPI-M), Gandhi said: "The Communist Party of India (Marxist) makes very big promises, claims to have done a lot for the workers of Kerala and for the country, but I, like my colleagues, have repeatedly said it is the Congress Party, it is Congress Governments, that have initiated and enacted laws for the protection of the workers."

About 1,500 young INTUC volunteers attended the rally.

The INTUC had been demanding that the benefits of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme (MNREGA) be passed on to workers of the traditional sector too.

The INTUC had originally planned to hold the rally on Kollam beach, but the Special Protection Group (SPG) that provides security to Gandhi and members of her family did not approve.

Gandhi also praised INTUC for the work done by it in the last sixty years.

"I am proud that INTUC is an organisation that has stood at the forefront of all progressive workers enactments that have been taken place in the country during the last sixty years. I am extremely happy to note that the Kerala branch of INTUC is well organised and is bringing trade union representation in the unorganized sector," she said.

Highlighting the core agenda of Congress Party, Gandhi said the party has always worked for the welfare of the the nation's labour force.

She also said that the party was evolving a national policy to make minimum wages statutory for workers in all sectors.

Furthermore, she stated that Congress Party was aware of the problems faced by traditional industries like cashew, coir, and handicraft and said that it was important to modernise the traditional sector through proper planning.

The Congress Party faces an uphill struggle this year due to public anger over a string of corruption scandals and economic growth hitting a decade-low.

It has decided not to name its prime ministerial candidate until after the elections.

Given India's diverse and fragmented electorate, neither the BJP nor any other party is expected to win the 272 seats needed for an outright majority. The biggest party will seek to form a coalition with regional parties.

Indian media often presents the 2014 elections as a face-off between Rahul Gandhi, best known for his famous last name, and Narendra Modi, who has been lauded by Indian corporate leaders and foreign companies for his business-friendly policies in Gujarat.

BJP's strong showing in the recent polls in four states has boosted the momentum for Modi in the run-up to the national election due in April-May 2014.

(Posted on 16-02-2014)

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