Poor turnout at Congress chief’s rally in Bangalore
The Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi, during her last leg of campaigning for the May 5 Assembly elections, on Thursday lashed out at the BJP government in the State, accusing it of betraying people’s mandate and misusing huge funds released by the Centre for the State’s development in the last five years.
Addressing election rallies in Gulbarga and Bangalore, she claimed that the Centre had released Rs 88,000 crore to the State in the last five years. “This is a huge sum. People have the right to ask where this money has gone. Why the MGNREGS was not implemented properly? Why roads are still so bad? Where is 24/7 power supply assured by the BJP? Where are 15 lakh houses promised by the BJP?” she asked.
She, however, did not elaborate whether money released by the Centre was a special grant. Normally, all the states get money from the Centre in the form of their share in Central taxes and grants every year. For instance, Karnataka has in its 2013-14 budget estimated that it will get about Rs 29,000 crore from the Centre. And, this is a normal grant.
She said that while the Centre went on liberally releasing funds to the State, only a few corrupt individuals in the government became crorepathis, leaving the common man in the lurch. A government must be responsive to the needs of people, but the BJP was totally deaf. The BJP did not do anything except helping its own leaders and friends, she charged.
She read out her written speech in Hindi in Gulbarga, while it was in English in Bangalore. Apparently sensing that the crowd has been made to wait for hours in the hot sun, Sonia kept the speech very brief at both the rallies. She even apologised to the people in Bangalore for making them wait. She arrived at about 4.15 pm while the event was scheduled to start at 3 pm. Though the rally was organised at the sprawling Palace Grounds, attendance was poor.
A large number of chairs arranged for the supporters remained unoccupied, though it was the first rally of the AICC chief in the capital and the last in the State. Only 5,000 to 6,000 people attended the rally, said police sources.
She further charged the BJP with indulging in unparalleled corruption and alleged that the administration has completely collapsed in the State.
“It is time for badalavane (change). The Congress has a detailed agenda for re-construction of the State. We have a commitment to fulfil: It is providing political stability. We will provide it if people give us full mandate,” she added.
She claimed that the Congress never makes false promises, and the party gives only such assurances that can be implemented. Round-the-clock supply of power is not feasible. Hence, the party has not promised 24/7 power supply, she stated
Migration of workforce
Stating that migration of workforce in search of livelihood was rampant in certain parts of the State, the Congress president said the Centre started the MGNREGA to overcome the problem.
“While many states made good use of the funds given under the Act, the BJP government has failed to implement it properly, resulting in migration,’’ she charged. She also claimed credit for the Congress and the UPA government for granting special status to Hyderabad-Karnataka region by amending the Constitution.
“Rahulji had assured to fulfill the demand of Hyderabad-Karnataka people if the Congress was voted to power in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. And, we did it for the development of the region,” she said.