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Congress counters Opposition's corruption charge

Special Correspondent

Photo: Rohit Jain Paras

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot addressing a public rally at Ramlila Grounds in Jaipur on Wednesday.

JAIPUR: The Congress staged a show of solidarity here on Wednesday in support of its beleaguered United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre by organising a public rally against the Opposition's “false propaganda” on corruption.

Speaker after speaker at the Ramlila Grounds came down heavily on the Opposition “machinations” in misleading the public for purportedly weakening the Congress and thereby, the country. Some of them termed it even a “conspiracy” to subvert the stability of the nation.

The rally was part of the Congress party's one-month-long country-wide campaign countering the Opposition onslaught on the corruption front. The leaders targeted both Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev and charged them with acting as a front for the RSS and the BJP. The agitation amounted to sidelining Parliament and elected representatives of the people, they said. The rally was attended by a large number of people.

The rain-washed occasion also marked the half-way stage of the Gehlot Government after coming to power in 2008-end and the taking over of Chandra Bhan as the new Pradesh Congress Committee president replacing C.P. Joshi, who is Union Minister for Road Transport. It was a show of solidarity within the Congress as well as Union Ministers Mukul Wasnik -- who is also AICC in charge for Rajasthan—C.P. Joshi, Namonarain Meena, Sachin Pilot, Mahadeo Singh Khandela, former Union Ministers Sisram Ola, Shakeel Ahmed, Girija Vyas and party MPs, Mahesh Joshi, Jyoti Mirdha and Tarachand Bhagora were on the stage.

If the rain disrupted the proceedings with staccato outpourings at the start of a benign monsoon season for the desert State, it provided moments of fun with comments from the speakers on the nature's benevolence. “First time we have this kind of ‘sawan' (the first month of the rainy season) in the recent times,” Mr. Gehlot said pointing out the Opposition “canard” that the Congress Governments in the State and drought coincided.

Mr. Gehlot said “conspiracies” to weaken the Congress since the time of Bofors had only led to the formation of unsteady coalitions at the Centre with no party getting a majority of its own. Acting on the five-point plan recommended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the State Government had made the Ministers and senior bureaucrats announce their assets online. Expressing doubts about the efficacy of Lokpal, he pointed out that the office of the Lok Ayukt so far had not been able to check corruption.

Mr. Wasnik said the BJP had scant legitimacy to run a campaign against corruption as it did precious nothing against corruption during the NDA regime.

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