Country faces threat from within, reiterates Sonia

Ranchi, April 21 (Inditop) Reiterating her controversial remark, Congress president Sonia Gandhi Tuesday said the country faces a threat from forces within that were trying to divide it in the name of religion. She also appealed to youths in Jharkhand to shun Maoist violence and join the mainstream.

“The country not only faces a threat from terrorists but also from communal forces trying to divide people in the name of religion,” Sonia Gandhi said, addressing a rally here.

“The Congress talks about the welfare of all sections of society but there are some who are trying to break the country in the name of religion. Hindus, Muslims, Christians want to live in peace and want two square meals a day.”

Nearly 10 days ago, a similar statement by her in Jharkhand had created controversy. Rival Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani had sought an apology from Sonia Gandhi for saying that the country faces a threat from within.

On the last day of campaigning for the second phase of polls Thursday, Sonia Gandhi addressed a rally here in favour of Central Food Processing Minister and Congress candidate from Ranchi Subodh Kant Sahay.

With Maoist violence being a big problem in Jharkhand, she appealed to youths who have taken to insurgency to join the mainstream of society.

“Violence only hurts society and the country, it is no solution to any problem. Youths who have deviated should join the mainstream of society.”

She also reminded the youth that it was her late husband and prime minister Rajiv Gandhi who reduced the age of voting to 18. “Youths can contribute to development of the nation and creating social harmony.”

“You vote for the work of the last five years done by the central government and consider the opposition’s deeds and hollow promises,” said the Congress president.

She spoke of the rural employment guarantee scheme, the waiving of loans to farmers, giving rights over forests to tribals and forest dwellers. “Even in the global meltdown, the Indian economy is doing well,” she said, praising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government.

She also reminded the people of Ranchi that she had fulfilled her promise to revive the ailing Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC). “I had promised to revive HEC and the company is on its way to becoming a ‘miniratna’.”