Vote for Congress for stable government in Karnataka: Sonia

Bangalore/Gulbarga, May 2 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi Thursday sought a clear mandate for her party to provide a stable government in Karnataka, which, she alleged, had slipped on development due to the BJP misrule in the past five years.

"Cast your vote for change. Cast your vote for the Congress to bring back the glory of Karnataka. Give us a clear mandate to provide a stable government in the state," Gandhi said at a public meeting in Bangalore ahead of the elections to the state legislative assembly May 5.

She urged the electorate to exercise their vote without fear or favour to bring the Congress back to power in the state and ensure all-round development.

"Unlike other parties, especially the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), the Congress does not make false or empty promises. We are committed to implement all policies and programmes given in our manifesto," she asserted

"You have seen how the BJP government had let you down by squandering the mandate you gave it five years ago," Gandhi told about 20,000 people who waited for more than two hours in sweltering heat for her arrival by a chopper from Gulbarga, about 650 km from here.

Lavishing praise on Bangalore for its rich history, weather and people, the Congress chief said the city was once the pride of India and other cities looked up to it to as it was known for its state-run enterprises, education, research and development and ushering in the IT revolution in the country.

"Bangalore is a city of entrepreneurs and innovation. It is a cosmopolitan city with people from different states, languages and cultural backgrounds living together in harmony. Likewise, the state was known to be progressive and development oriented."

"Sadly, all this is history, as the BJP has let its people down by neglecting its infrastructure, power and water supply, housing and other basic amenities," Gandhi said.

Reiterating that the time has come to change governance by throwing out the corrupt BJP from power in the state, Gandhi said if voted to power, the Congress would work for the people of all sections without distinction or discrimination.

"The BJP government had acquired a dubious reputation of looting the state's resources, especially minerals, indulging in monumental corruption, land-grabbing and facilitated illegal mining. This is the time for change in the state for development," she said.

The Congress chief began her 15-minute speech in English from a written script by apologising to the public for being two hours behind schedule from a day-long whirlwind tour of the state during the second leg of her electioneering.

Earlier in the day, addressing a huge gathering at Gulbarga in the northern region of the state, Gandhi said the BJP government should give an account of how it spent funds allotted to the state for various schemes by the United Progressive Alliance central government.

"The people of Karnataka have right to know how central funds granted to the state government have been used and what assets have been created through our flagship scheme like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).

"The BJP government has to give an account of how it had spent about Rs.88,000 crore the central government had given to the state during the last five years for various programmes," Gandhi said addressing the public in Hindi from a written script.