Congress rules out early general elections

Hyderabad, Feb 10 (IANS) The Congress Sunday ruled out early general elections saying the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government would complete its five-year term.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters here that elections would be held in 2014 and that the Congress-led UPA government would complete its term.

Tewari, who is also the spokesperson of the party, was replying to a query about BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu's claim that the ruling coalition was hinting at early elections.

He said the internal security situation today was better than what the UPA inherited from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). He claimed that the UPA strengthened communal harmony.

Tewari said the government did not hesitate to take tough decisions on national security. "During the last three months, some tough decisions were taken and the main aim was to enforce rule of law and give a clear message that if anybody tries to challenge India's unity and integrity, he would be dealt with firmly," he said in an obvious reference to the hangings of Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru.

On a separate Telangana state in Andhra Pradesh, he said the government was trying to find a solution and appealed to people to be patient.

"There is a need to be patient. There is a need to engage. We understand sensitivities of all sides. Emotions are raw. These are decisions of great political importance and they require sensitive handling," he said after a section of Congress leaders from Telangana region met him and called for an early decision on the issue.

They also apprised the central leader of the suicides by the youths in Telangana over the delay in statehood to the region.

"I appeal to all, especially to my young friends, that everybody needs to be patient and needs to understand that the government is trying to work its way through various arguments," he said.

Tewari also said it was inappropriate for him to put a timeframe as the matter falls within the ambit of union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.