4 Feb :Vowing to defeat terrorism, Congress President Sonia Gandhi warned that any attempt by Pakistan to weaken the country or harm its unity will be given "a befitting reply".
"India’s identity is that all religions and communities co-exist in harmony. Our neighbour wants to weaken this strength of ours but they do not know that we can give a befitting reply to their every design," Sonia said at a public rally in Silvassa, in an obvious reference to Pakistan.
She said the neighbouring country wants to destroy our unity and brotherhood."Terrorism is a big challenge before the country but would be met. We will defeat terrorism," she said.In an apparent reference to attacks on migrants in neighbouring Maharashtra, Sonia praised people of the Dadra and Nagar Haveli for "loving and accepting outside workers" who came to work in the Union Territory.
"You people have followed the tradition of unity in diversity," she said.The Congress president also credited the Congress-led UPA government with shielding people from the "oil shock".
"We would continue to work for the ‘aam aadmi’ (common man)," she said, highlighting the price cuts of Rs 10 a litre for petrol, Rs four for diesel and Rs 25 per LPG cylinder in the last two months.
The UPA government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, signed the historic nuclear pact with the US to provide a cheap and quality source of power to people in urban and rural areas, she said.
Praising the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, she said it had received global acclaim.The scheme has empowered the rural poor and given them an opportunity to realise their potential, she said.
Describing the Rs 71,000-crore farmer loan waiver as a "historic and revolutionary step", Sonia claimed the decision had benefited around 4.5 crore farmers.
Sonia listed empowering masses through Panchayati Raj and spread of information technology as the two important initiatives of her late husband Rajiv Gandhi.Mohan Delkar, Lok Sabha member from Dadra and Nagar Haveli, who is into his sixth term in the Lower House, joined Congress at the rally.
In 2004 elections, Delkar who contested as a Bharatiya Navshaki Party nominee defeated Congress candidate by over 12,800 votes.However, since the last couple of years, he has been working for Congress.
Sonia lauded the 46-year-old MP, saying it was at his initiative that the Union Territory got financial assistance of Rs 150 crore from the Centre.
Taking a dig at BJP leaders L K Advani, who is the party’s prime ministerial candidate, and Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Delka said "some people in opposition as well as some in neighbouring Gujarat claim they are PM-in-waiting".
Congress functionaries B K Hariprasad, Rajiv Shukla, P Sudhakar Reddy, Dadra Nagar Haveli PCC chief Vikramsinh Parmar and Gujarat PCC president Sidharth Patel were present at the rally.
The Congress president also inaugurated a bridge connecting Nai Daman and Moti Daman. The bridge would be named as Rajiv Gandhi Sethu.