Third front will only help BJP; unity of secular forces must: Congress

The Congress has underscored that emergence of any third front will be advantageous to the BJP/NDA

Third front will only help BJP; unity of secular forces must: Congress

Ashlin Mathew

The Congress has underscored that emergence of any third front will be advantageous to the BJP/NDA and the unity of secular and socialist forces will be the hallmark of the party’s future.

Congress highlighted in the political resolution, which is set to be adopted on the second day of the 85th Congress Plenary Session. This is reminiscent of the 2004 Congress Lok Sabha agenda. Both Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi pointed to the alliances formed in 2004 defeating the 'India Shining' campaign led by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

In what can technically be called a manifesto for 2024 Lok Sabha, but is being termed as the political resolution, the party has stated that “Congress should go all out to identify, mobilise and align like- minded secular forces. We should include secular regional forces who agree with our ideology. There is an urgent need for a united opposition to take on the NDA on common ideological grounds”.

In the vision document for 2024, the party has that wherever the Congress is the main opposition party, “we should be a responsible and responsive opposition. While campaigning, focus should be on the respective local issues” and the “well-crafted and thoroughly deliberated Udaipur Nav Sankalp will be taken up on a mission mode”.

The party has proposed to amend the Constitution to eliminate the toppling of democratically elected governments by purchasing legislators and engineering mass defections. The party has lost five state governments to defection.

In the 58-point political resolution, Congress said it would strive to restore complete statehood for the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, and bring Ladakh and its people under the protection of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India. Additionally, the party has maintained that it stands committed to extend special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

What the party hopes will be a game-changer is the “Right to Healthcare Act”. As healthcare is the right of every citizen, “Congress will guarantee to every citizen the right to healthcare services, including free diagnostics, out-patient care, medicines and hospitalisation”.

The Congress government under Ashok Gehlot had tabled the Right to Health Bill in the state Assembly in September 2022.

The grand old party has proposed to bring a legislation against hate crimes in the country. “In the last eight and a half years under the BJP Government, the politics of hate has assumed alarming proportions and religious polarisation has reached its peak. Hate crimes and atrocities have increased manifold. Vigilante right wing groups incite violence on various trivial issues,” said the Congress.

Underscoring the misuse of governors, the Congress has demanded that the Governors who misuse their positions should be held publicly accountable for their actions.

The party has also said it would bring about electoral reforms. The present system of Electoral Bonds is fatally flawed and fully corrupt. Congress has proposed to set up a National Election Fund to which everyone can contribute. During elections, funds will be allocated to political parties transparently, in accordance with the law.

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