Sonia sounds Gujarat poll bugle, challenges Modi

Sounding the rallying cry for a new Gujarat, Congress president Sonia Gandhi today said that the state's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was not against corruption but only against her party.

Addressing a rally in Rajkot, Gandhi took on Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has demanded that the government make public the money spent on her medical treatment last year.

Sonia Gandhi
While addressing the people of Rajkot, Sonia Gandhi urged them to back Congress (File pic)

"Yeh log brashtachar ke khilaf nahin, sirf hamare khilaf hain. (These people are not against corruption, just against us)," Gandhi said.

"Ek naya Gujarat banana hai aur banayenge (We have to make a new Gujarat and we will)," she said, sounding the war cry ahead of elections in the state expected to be announced any day.

Gandhi also defended the government's decision to increase diesel prices and permit foreign investment in multi-brand retail.

Challenging BJP's version of development in Gujarat, she said the waters of the Narmada river had still not reached parched Saurashtra.

Exhorting the people to go along with the Congress, she said the voters were sensible and understood everything. Development and peace in Gujarat had to take along all sections of society, Gandhi added.

On Tuesday, the Congress had demanded an apology from Modi for his allegation that the central government spent Rs 1,880 crore on Gandhi's foreign visits and medical treatment abroad.

However, the BJP strongman stuck to his guns saying the Congress should answer Righ To Information (RTI) queries on Gandhi's travel.

"Modi should apologise to the nation and to the Gandhi family now that it is proved that his allegations on Soniaji's foreign visits and her treatment abroad were wrong," said Congress leader Rajiv Shukla.

Modi had criticised the central government Monday for questioning the Gujarat government for spending money on festivities and celebrations.

He said the state should not be questioned when the central government has itself spent Rs 1,880 crore for Gandhi's foreign trips and "treatment abroad" over three years.

Gandhi went abroad Sep 1 for a routine medical check-up and returned after a week. She had gone to the US for a surgery related to an undisclosed ailment last year. 

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