Allahabad: Proclaiming "zero tolerance" to corruption, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said here Thursday that her party always believed in dealing with the menace with a heavy hand.
She was addressing a huge rally organised here to mark the commencement of second phase of 'yatras' initiated by her son and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi at Ambedkar Nagar April 14, as a part of the Congress party's 125th anniversary celebrations.
The date of the launch of the 'yatras' from Ambedkar Nagar strategically coincided with the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Indian Constitution as well as India's greatest Dalit icon.
Evidently, with nothing to say in the aftermath of the Bihar assembly elections, Sonia preferred to keep the spotlight on whatever the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government was doing in the name of good and clean governance.
Without taking any names, but in an obvious reference to the sacking of then telecom minister A. Raja and Commonwealth Games chief Suresh Kalmadi, the Congress president stressed that "every time any corruption related issue has come to our notice, the Congress-led UPA government has always shown promptness in taking action".
"The Congress has never spared anyone indulging in corrupt practices because we know that corruption is the worst malady facing our nation and is, therefore, also the biggest hurdle in the path of our development," she said.
Urging all opposition parties to follow course, Gandhi said: "I would like to appeal to all other political parties to adopt the same sternness in dealing with corruption as the Congress-led UPA government has been doing."
Training her guns at the Mayawati government, she went on to add: "Take the case of Uttar Pradesh where corruption is posing the biggest obstacle in development."
"Corruption in UP is rampant at all levels, law and order is at its lowest ebb, thereby creating an environment where people are not safe and the common man is oppressed."
Highlighting the central government's serious concern about development, Gandhi made it a point to impress upon all and sundry how the funds released by the central government towards various development schemes and projects had failed to reach the intended beneficiary on account of large scale pilferage.
"It is the right of every citizen to know about the use of every penny spent on development programmes and everyone must assert that right," she emphasised.