Highlights of PM, Sonia speeches

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) Highlights of what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said Wednesday at the UPA-II’s fourth anniversary:

PM: We can legitimately claim, and with pride, that the UPA government has taken our country forward on all these four fronts (economy, inclusive growth, governance/welfare programmes and bilateral relations) in the nine years.

PM: Taking a longer term view, we see that India was among the fastest growing economies of the world with an average growth rate of 8 percent in the last nine years, including the years of slower growth.

PM: The economic situation is turning around. Inflation is coming under control. The fiscal deficit is being brought under control. The current account deficit is high, but we will bring it down gradually.

PM: To our critics I would only say that in many of these areas since the glass was almost empty when we started, it will take some time before it is really full. The important point is that it is filling.

PM: We are the world’s largest democracy with a very free Press and an increasingly active civil society movement. These are our strengths. But they do put pressure for early and decisive action on all these fronts. This sometimes leads to impatience and hasty judgement.

PM: But we can claim credit that the root cause of the problem (wrongdoing in allocation of 2G spectrum and coal mining), which was the perceived non-transparency in the manner of allocation, has been addressed and these problems will not arise in the future.

PM: Relations with China are showing our ability to manage difficult issues while working together in areas of convergence.

Sonia Gandhi: The PM (prime minister) is carrying out his responsibility with great dignity in the face of unrelenting hostility and abuse from the opposition. We respect him and we all stand by him.

Sonia Gandhi: I make a plea to the National Democratic Alliance and other opposition parties… Let us come together to ensure passage of the food security and the land acquisition bills and other important bills.

Sonia Gandhi: We are disappointed that we have not been able to get crucial legislation enacted because of the obstructionist approach.

Sonia Gandhi: Corruption remains an issue as it concerns us. We have been uncompromising in our efforts to combat this scourge.

Sonia Gandhi: We have nothing to hide, we have nothing to feel defensive about.

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