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Mangalore: A combative Sonia Gandhi on Thursday sought to deflect attacks on the Congress over corruption by accusing the BJP of running corrupt governments in several states, affirming that her party has done more to fight this "cancer" than others.
"We all know corruption is a disease, a cancer. Who does it affect the most, it is the poor. No other party has done what UPA has done to fight corruption. We brought the RTI because we genuinely want to fight corruption," she said addressing a public meeting in Mangalore.
Pepping up the Congress cadres for the next year's Assembly elections, Gandhi accused the BJP of "just pretending" to fight corruption and said it was running corrupt governments in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
"This is the real question you must ask. These are the answers you must get," she said, adding the people of Karnataka are "disenchanted with the corrupt government" in the state.
Talking about the party's seriousness in fighting corruption, the Congress President said, "no other party has done more to fight corruption than the Congress and UPA.
"We brought RTI legislation, not BJP, not NDA. It is through the RTI that these scandals are coming out."
Gandhi said the UPA government wanted to pass the lokpal bill in Parliament but the BJP had obstructed it.
"We got it passed in the Lok Sabha. Who stopped it in Rajya Sabha? It was BJP," she said and asked, "do they want to fight corruption?"
She also accused the BJP of dividing societies on communal lines and said the Congress should fight these "communal" forces.
"We have to see the forces of communalism are defeated... We must stand up and fight these forces. We must fight communalism regardless of where it originates from," Gandhi said referring to the secular traditions upheld in Mangalore city for ages.
She expressed confidence that people of Karnataka will deliver the answers in the coming elections. However, she cautioned the Congress cadres against complacence and wanted them to work unitedly against BJP.
During her address, Gandhi referred to the recent decision of the central government to cap subsidised LPG cylinders at six per year and said the Congress-ruled states had raised it to nine cylinders per year.
She lashed out at the BJP-ruled states for not doing the same as also not reducing VAT on diesel.
"We had no option but to increase the prices of diesel and cooking gas. In spite that the UPA government is doing its best not to inflict further hardship on the people of the country," the Congress President said. She justified the price hike in diesel and curtailment of subsidy on LPG, saying it had to be done because of rising crude oil price in international market and the global economic crisis.
"I want to ask the BJP government here, why has it not increased the limit of cylinders from six to nine. This our chief ministers have done. This our states have done."
"Why has not the Karnataka government reduced VAT on diesel?... What have you done to lessen the hardship of the people," she said, arguing that taking such measures are the responsibility of both central and the state governments.
Attacking the opposition parties for protesting FDI in multi-brand retail, she said the former BJP-ruled NDA government was also bringing the same law during its tenure.
She said FDI will ensure better prices for farmers by providing a direct linkage between them and the market.
"We want out farmers to get better prices. We are ensuring a direct linkage between farmers and market... Jobs will be created. New infrastructure will also be created in the process," she said.
Accusing the Karnataka government for not using the funds given by the Centre, she said, "In last five years, UPA has given Karnataka government Rs. 80,000 crore. When NDA was there you received Rs. 30,000 crore. What have they done with the Rs. 80,000 crore?"