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Ready for polls, says Sonia Gandhi

By Our Staff Correspondent

BIJAPUR, JAN. 23. The Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, said on Friday that her party was prepared for elections.

Addressing a public rally here, Ms. Gandhi said only the Congress could take care of all sections of society. For the party, power was only a tool to serve the people.

Lambasting the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance Government, she said corruption had become rampant and those at the helm of affairs had failed to contain it. The Government had failed on all fronts. It had not lived up to the expectations of the people. She said the Centre's economic policies had left the common people in the lurch. The rural people, particularly women, were deprived of their livelihood. Unemployment had become a serious problem. Those who had ruined the life of the poor should be taught a lesson. But the ruling alliance at the Centre had claimed that the country had made strides in every sector during its rule. It had been spending taxpayers' money on publicity. Referring to the Centre's recently announced concessions, she asked where was this concern in the past four years. The measures were announced with an eye on the elections. But the people could not be deceived with such a ploy, she added.

Listing the measures initiated by his Government, the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, said over Rs. 7,500 crore had been spent on the Upper Krishna Project after he assumed power. A Rs. 850-crore special package had been announced for the benefit of farmers and a Rs. 200-crore package for weavers, he said.

The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President, B. Janardhana Poojary, welcomed the gathering. Vilasrao Deshmukh, All India Congress Committee General Secretary, was present.

Tight security arrangements for the rally disrupted life in the city. Enraged people pulled down an arch.

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