Mass rallies as India's parties go into campaign mode

Terrorism, development, dynastic rule and a controversial Hindu temple were the chief topics spotlighted Sunday as India's main political parties switched into election mode, dpa reported.

India's governing United Progressive Alliance's (UPA) term ends in May, and elections are expected to be announced soon for April or May.

The Congress Party, which leads the ruling alliance, organized a mass rally for party workers in Delhi, whilst the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) concluded a major convention in the western city of Nagpur.

The Congress rally was addressed by all major party leaders including party chief Sonia Gandhi and her son, Rahul, himself a lawmaker.

The speakers largely dwelled on the issues of terrorism and development, as they asked party workers to highlight the claimed success of the UPA in improving the lot of farmers and weaker sections of society and empowering women.

Their main attacks focussed on the BJP, and neighbouring Pakistan - which India claims is going soft on terrorism. It alleges Pakistani extremists were responsible for the attacks on Mumbai in November that left more than 170 people dead.

"Terrorism is a big challenge and I want to tell people across the border that they should not mistake our calmness as weakness," Sonia Gandhi told the huge gathering of party workers.

She also criticized the BJP for raising the issue of building a temple to the Hindu god Ram in the northern town of Ayodhya once again.

Hindu hardliners claim that a temple at the site once marked the birthplace of Lord Ram and the temple had been torn down by Muslim rulers who built a mosque on the spot.

Groups of Hindu fanatics demolished the medieval Babri mosque in 1992, sparking nationwide sectarian riots that left more than 2000 people dead. The temple issue now lies with the courts.

On Saturday, leaders of the BJP once again repeated a promised to rebuild the Ram temple at Ayodhya. The Hindu right-wing party emerged as a powerful national party in the 1980s and 1990s largely thanks to its campaign to build the temple.

More than 80 per cent of India's 1.2 billion population are Hindu, 12 per cent are Muslims, whilst the remainder follow other religions like Christianity and Sikhism.

"We will build the temple, with the help of legislation if needed," BJP president Rajnath Singh was quoted as saying at the Nagpur convention by PTI news agency.

Sonia Gandhi took a potshot at the BJP Sunday saying: "Those who want to divide society, create polarisation on the basis of religion and those who use the name of Ram are against religion and cannot fight terrorism."

The BJP's star speaker at the Nagpur convention was Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has faced criticism for his handling of the Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002 in which more than 1000 people, largely Muslims, were killed.

He is, however, regarded as an efficient administrator who has helped Gujarat become one of India's most economically prosperous states.

Modi launched a scathing attack on the Congress Party for promoting dynastic rule.

Sonia Gandhi's husband Rajiv Gandhi, his mother Indira Gandhi and his grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru were all prime ministers of India.

The Congress Party elected Sonia Gandhi to be its leader after the 2004 general election but she refused to become prime minister and remained chief of the party.

"The conspiracy to promote one family's past is posing danger to the future of the country," Modi said without naming the Nehru-Gandhis.

Modi termed Manmohan Singh "an invisible prime minister" and said power without accountability had rested with "the family" for the past five years and this needed to be changed.

Singh, who recently underwent heart bypass surgery, could not attend Sunday's rally in Delhi but sent a message saying the government's flagship programmes and policy initiatives had helped better the lives of millions.

He spoke of his desire to build a progressive, secure and happy India and asked workers to carry the party's message and government's accomplishments to voters across the country.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Iran sees increase in volume of cargo loaded/unloaded in Genaveh port
Iran sees increase in volume of cargo loaded/unloaded in Genaveh port
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for December 8
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for December 8
IRICA shares data on Iran’s steel, iron products export
IRICA shares data on Iran’s steel, iron products export
Loading Bars
bp says delivery of final major equipment packages for ACE complete
bp talks latest progress in ACE platform construction
Georgia shows positive growth in tourism revenue recovery – TBC Capital
Russia begins sea trials of 'Peter the Great' cruise ship - Astrakhan governor
Iran sees increase in volume of cargo loaded/unloaded in Genaveh port
Azericard looks to expand innovative payment tools in Azerbaijan
Uzbekistan reveals main countries in terms of imports for 10M2021
Several wheat varieties sown in Azerbaijan's liberated lands (PHOTO)
Central Bank of Azerbaijan plans to develop standards to support open banking technologies in 2022
Azerbaijan, Russia’s Astrakhan to co-op in dev’t of North-South transport corridor – Astrakhan governor
Central Bank of Azerbaijan unveils five main directions of digital payment development strategy
S&P Global Ratings announces Uzbek Ravnaq-bank's credit rating
China's Venus Medtech buys Israeli co Cardiovalve
Central Bank of Azerbaijan to develop document on conceptual approach to digital currency creation in 2022
Uzbekistan names leading countries in terms of exports in 10M2021
National Bank of Georgia reduces mortgage loans term
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for December 8
Tesla sold 52,859 China-made vehicles in November
Azerbaijan developing new training programs for qualified workers - minister
UAE to allow establishment of acquisition companies
MasterCard eyes expanding non-cash payment opportunities for public transport in Azerbaijani regions
Light Industry Development Project in Georgia getting support from USAID
Azerbaijani Ombudsman talks about measures on Armenia's execution of decision of Int'l Court of Justice
IRICA shares data on Iran’s steel, iron products export
Azerbaijan, Iran discuss issue on construction of bridge and pedestrian crossing over Astarachay River
Social Democrat Olaf Scholz elected as German chancellor
Iran to launch new power units for TPPs
Lithuanian BS/2 to expand its business in Azerbaijan
Eurasian petroleum production to continue positive trend by 2022
Cargo transportation via Iran's Urmia International Airport increases
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan to build industrial trade and logistics complex on border
Europe to see increase in petroleum, other liquids output
MasterCard implements projects to expand contactless, non-cash payments in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan researching to create digital manat
Russian S7 Airlines launches regular flights to Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan assigns payments to 20,000 families of martyrs in 2021 - minister
National Bank of Georgia tightens monetary policy rate
Personal exhibition of Brazilian street artist to open at Azerbaijan's Heydar Aliyev Center
Iran working to increase amount of solar panels installed on rooftops
Azerbaijan to file two lawsuits against Armenia in 2022 – MFA
Azerbaijani, Turkish FMs hold phone talk
Int'l Court of Justice rejected Armenia's petition on War Trophy Park - Azerbaijani MFA
Activities in Iran’s Jask Port down
Azerbaijan's SMBDA eyes creating alternative source of lending to SME entrepreneurs
Azerbaijan's SMEs have wide access to cashless solutions – SMBDA
Proposal made to exempt from taxes import of goods for mine clearance to Azerbaijan
Transition to open, digital banking envisaged in Azerbaijan in next five years – CBA (PHOTO)
Kazakhstan forecasts unchanged volume of oil production in 2022
Azerbaijan’s Central Bank takes measures to ensure high level dev’t of non-cash payments (Exclusive)
Azerbaijan Banks Association projects share of non-cash payments in total turnover by 2025
Iran’s NICICO boosts copper production
Intel plans Mobileye flotation at over $50b valuation
Kazakhstan’s Pavlodar Oil Chemistry Refinery opens tender to buy pipes
TBC Capital shares outlook on Georgia’s tourism recovery
Azerbaijan openly calls on Armenia to prevent confrontation – deputy FM
International Court of Justice recommended Armenia to resolve border demarcation issue - Azerbaijan's MFA
Azerbaijan’s MFA talks Yerevan's claims on detained persons of Armenian origin
Azerbaijani minister talks current problems in local labor market
Azerbaijan’s liberated territories have great potential for employment – minister
Georgia’s textile imports from Turkey increase
Azerbaijan suffered from equal treatment of aggressor and victim - MFA
Iran records increase in transit of goods via trucks through its territory
Azerbaijan working on several youth development projects - Minister of Youth and Sports
Possible opening of cruise line between Azerbaijan, Russia has high potential - Astrakhan governor
Azerbaijan sees increase in concluded labor contracts over past four years - minister
Azerbaijan’s Central Bank talks increase in non-cash payments (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan to be fully covered by internet by late 2024 - deputy minister
Georgia releases COVID-19 data for December 8
Developing contactless payments to help further digitalize Azerbaijan's economy - VISA
Azerbaijan talks progress of tunnel road building between Goygol, liberated Kalbajar districts
Azerbaijani oil prices increase
Baku holds Azerbaijan Career Development Forum (PHOTO)
Business centers of Azerbaijan, Russia’s Astrakhan sign memorandum of co-op (PHOTO)
Baku port transports goods in transit mainly to Central Asia, Europe – head of main cargo terminal
Kazakhstan eyes increasing requirements for commodity exchanges
Georgia launches energy reform program, backed by KfW, EU
Uzbekistan shares domestic COVID-19 data for December 7
Iranian currency rates for December 8
Oil prices ease as investors wait for assessment of Omicron's impact
EIA revises down forecasts for Azerbaijan’s 2022 petroleum production
Azerbaijan to commission new enterprises for production of sulfuric acid and glass containers
MFA issues statement on 30th anniversary of Azerbaijan's membership in OIC
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on Dec. 8
OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries release statement
Gunmen torch bus, kill 30 passengers in Nigeria's Sokoto state
Azerbaijan’s Central Bank talks dev’t strategy for securities market until 2023
Pfizer Shot Provides Partial Omicron Shield in Early Study
Australia joins diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Games
704 new COVID-19 cases reported in Kazakhstan
France reports record daily COVID-19 count
U.S. Senate backs $650 million missile sale to Saudi Arabia
Mandatory vaccination should be a last resort, says WHO Europe chief
Bolsonaro dismisses vaccination requirement for entry into Brazil
Israel announces completion of high-tech barrier around Gaza
Northern Ireland reports first Omicron cases
Police officer killed in NW Pakistan's firing
Sweden to reintroduce many COVID-19 measures as cases rise
Armenia has no choice but to open Zangazur corridor - experts
Turkey, Qatar strengthen bilateral ties with 15 new deals
Georgian parliamentary delegation visits Washington
All news