Congress can ensure bright future for Telangana: Sonia Gandhi
Claiming that formation of Telangana state was not possible without the Congress, Sonia Gandhi Wednesday appealed to the people to vote for the party for a bright future and for development with peace and social justice.
Launching the party campaign in Telangana, the Congress president said the party kept its word to deliver Telangana state and fulfilled the 60-year-old dream of the four crore people.
Addressing a public meeting in this north Telangana town, she said as the time of agitation was over and time has come for running Telangana state with responsibility, people should vote for the Congress to ensure that the new state begins its journey with peace, development and respect for all.
The Congress chief said formation of Telangana may have been a compulsion for other parties but for the Congress it was a commitment.
"There is no doubt that without Congress, Telangana would have never been formed. It was Congress which took the decision to form Telangana, drafted a bill for the purpose, and got it passed in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha."
Gandhi said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opposed the bill till the last minute in the Rajya Sabha while the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the YSR Congress left no stone unturned to stall it.
She did not spare the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) either, which has refused to merge with the Congress or have an electoral alliance with it.
"The TRS had no role in drafting and passing the Telangana bill," Gandhi said and pointed out that seven months before the TRS was formed in 2001, Congress legislators from Telangana had met and passed a resolution, demanding the party leadership to back Telangana.
"The TRS talks only the language of intimidation," she said while claiming that the Congress alone can take along all sections of people.
She also said people of both Telangana and Seemandhra are close to her heart.
"We will fulfill promises made to Seemandhra people at any cost and we will not disappoint them," she said.
It was Sonia Gandhi's first public address in Telangana after parliament passed the Telangana state bill in February.
"The Congress has turned your dream in reality. On June 2, Telangana will become the 29th state. I am happy to participate in your celebrations," she said.
The Congress president had promised a separate state at the same venue during the 2009 election campaign.
She said it took time for the Congress to evolve consensus and persuade other parties to support Telangana.
Gandhi assured people that the UPA would fulfill promises for development of Telangana like setting up 4,000 MW power plant, which will be one of the biggest in the country, 10-year tax relief for backward areas, using revenue from Hyderabad for the region and granting national projects status to Paranhita-Chevella and Palamuru lift irrigation projects.
She said that while protecting Hyderabad's image, efforts will be made to develop other parts of Telangana.
Telangana state Congress chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah and former deputy chief minister Damodar Rajanarsimha also addressed the meeting.
Simultaneous elections to 119 assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana are scheduled for April 30.
(Posted on 16-04-2014)