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Development main Cong poll plank: Kalita

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, March 18 � Development will be the main election plank of the Congress in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls in Assam. Meanwhile, All India Congress Committee (AICC) vice president Rahul Gandhi reviewed the poll preparedness of the party in the State in a brief meeting with the leaders of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC).

Talking to The Assam Tribune, APCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita said that on his way to Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, Rahul Gandhi had a brief talk with a delegation of the APCC in the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport and reviewed the preparedness of the party for the elections. Gandhi also took stock of the publicity campaign launched by the party for the elections.

Kalita said that senior leaders of the Congress, including president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders would visit the State for election campaigning, while, the State leaders including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi would extensively campaign all over the State. However, the dates of the visit of the Central leaders of the party are yet to be finalised.

The APCC president said the shifting of senior political leaders from one party to another in the run-up to the polls would affect the opposition parties. For example, Dr Parvez Ahmed was given ticket by the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) to contest from Silchar, but he joined the Trinamool Congress and decided to contest from Barpeta. The political situation in the State would become clear only after the dust settles. �The advantage of the Congress is that it is a stable and mature party with tested ideologies,� he added.

Kalita said that the main issue of the Congress would be development and claimed that the overall development of the State in the last 12 and a half years would be beneficial for the party. The Congress has already published a white paper on the issue of development and the assistance that the State received during the UPA and NDA regimes. The peace process and the success of the government in improving the law and order situation would be the second major issue, while, the steps taken for the development of the ethnic groups would also be made an election issue. Though the AICC would release the election manifesto of the party, the APCC would also make a series of announcements by the end of this month, he said.

Replying to a question on dissident activities in the Congress, Kalita asserted that there was no dissidence in the party and all party members would work together to ensure victory of the party�s candidates. �In a democratic party like the Congress, members may have differences of opinion. But when an election comes, we all work together. During the recent Rajya Sabha elections also, some sections of media reported dissidence among party members, but all legislators voted for the candidates of the Congress and its alliance partner BPF,� he pointed out.

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