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May 22, 2013 at 11:08pm IST

UPA projects united front as PM assures probe into scams, Sonia flays BJP

New Delhi: Seeking to dispel the perception of gloom amidst scams and controversies, the UPA on Wednesday painted a rosy picture of its government's performance during the last nine years. In the 'Report to the People', released by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the fourth anniversary of the UPA-II, the government maintained that allegations of impropriety were being investigated and that the guilty would be punished. The PM also pitched for an 8 per cent growth if the UPA came back to power in 2014.

"This report is the last before the next general elections," the PM said, adding, "Next year, we will report to the people directly, seeking a renewed mandate."

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Stating that the report will focus on "the improved growth in economy, the better delivery mechanisms, the social sector schemes and improved relations with the world", PM Manmohan Singh said that India will overcome the economic slowdown and could exceed 6 per cent growth this year.

"The economy did slow down in 2012-13, but it is temporary. The economic situation is turning around. Fiscal deficit is being brought under control. Inflation is being brought under control. The UPA has done a good job on growth. We are targeting 12 per cent agricultural growth in 12th Plan," Singh said. He also lauded the government for growth spurt in rural areas. "The growth has spread to so-called backward states. Rural per capita income and consumption have increased after 2004. UPA government has a good record on rural growth. Backward states have grown faster under UPA. Agricultural wages grew at 6.8 pc a year in real terms after 2004," he said.

Sonia Gandhi, meanwhile, said the government was firmly in support of the PM, who, she said, had withstood "the unrelenting hostility" with dignity. She also attacked the BJP for its "obstructionist approach" and not allowing Parliament to function.

"We are disappointed that Parliament is not allowed to function. We are unable to fulfil our duties due to the obstructionist approach of the Opposition. There has to be a calculative approach to control the spread of innuendos and misinformation," she said.

She also said that the government had the greatest respect for the PM who was carrying out his responsibilities "with greatest dignity in the face of unrelenting hostility".

It's a bogus report: BJP

Bharatiya Janata Party termed the speech "bogus" and said it was more of a failure report. "The PM's speech is not inspiring. There is nothing for the common man in his speech," Prakash Javadekar said.

"What they are presenting is not there, and what they are hiding is the truth," Javadekar said, adding, "People are denouncing this report and will punish them when an opportunity comes."

Samajwadi Party boycotts function, dinner

Contrary to earlier reports, the Samajwadi Party boycotted the UPA function and dinner, hosted by the PM. Reports had earlier suggested that Samajwadi Party would send leader Ram Gopal Yadav to attend the function and not the dinner.

However, Yadav was not seen during either event.

The Congress, however, played it down, saying one should not see "too much into them being absent during dinner". "They have always helped us out when we need them. They were invited but could not attend dinner, we will find out the reason," Rajiv Shukla said.