Congress favours paper ballots, calls on private sector to empower poor

The political resolution moved at the Congress Plenary session on Saturday says ensuring social justice should be the shared responsibility of the Government and the private sector

Photo courtesy:
Photo courtesy:

S Khurram Raza and Vishwadeepak

Moving the political resolution on Saturday at the Congress Plenary session, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha and Gulbarga MP Mallikarjun Kharge pointed to the irony that while democracy brought Narendra Modi to power, the Modi Government itself has become a threat to democracy and has been undermining democratic institutions and core foundational values of the country.

The Congress, the draft resolution says, would be pragmatic and strive to work out a ‘Common Workable Programme’ with like-minded parties to defeat the BJP in the next general election.

Besides indicting the Modi Government for its failure to fulfill promises made to the farmers and the youth, the resolution also castigates the government for its failure to create jobs, counter terrorism or curb corruption. It lashes out at the RSS for the onslaught on institutions and alleges that even Constitutional office of Governors has been compromised.

The political resolution opposes the Prime Minister’s pet project of holding simultaneous elections and warns that consequences of the misplaced proposal need to be analysed thoroughly.

Some of the significant points made in the political resolution

  1. While compulsory reservation in jobs for weaker sections alone cannot achieve social equality and equality of opportunity, empowering the disadvantaged should be the shared responsibility of both government and the private sector.
  2. In view of the misgivings over the possibility of manipulation of Electronic Voting Machines, the Election Commission should give serious thought to going back to paper ballots.
  3. Pledging the party’s support to 33% reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures, it calls upon the Government to introduce a Bill to this effect.
  4. The resolution calls upon the Government to fulfil the Prime Minister’s assurances given to Andhra Pradesh as well as provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.
  5. It refers to the disquiet in the Judiciary and the stand-off between the Government and the apex court and calls for urgent judicial reforms.
  6. The resolution also accuses the NDA Government of belittling the contributions made by Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
  7. Accusing the Government of diluting the provisions of several legislations including the Forest Rights Act, it calls upon the Government to implement the FRA immediately and effectively.
  8. Reiterating that Congress remains committed to ensure the safety of all minorities as equal citizens, it says, “it is unacceptable for the people to be told what to eat and what to wear.
  9. Describing the RSS and BJP as ideological descendants of the ‘non-participants of the freedom struggle’, it reiterates the party’s commitment to social unity, secularism and constitutional democracy.
  10. The BJP Government has brazenly misused the constitutional office of Governors and resorted to unethical means to destabilise elected governments, hijack popular mandates and foisting Governments by manufacturing majority.
  11. BJP has a history of double standards and double speak on corruption. The Government has refused to take action on serious allegations of corruption against BJP chief ministers and ministers. It has shielded the corrupt and prevented the investigating and enforcement agencies from acting as is professionally required even when there is prima-facie evidence. On the contrary, clean chits are sought to be manipulated.
  12. There is a nexus between the BJP and those, who have amassed wealth through corruption and generation of Black Money. This is evident from the BJP’s access to unprecedented resources and money, which is brazenly on display in every election and rallies of the party.
  13. There is an apprehension in people’s minds over the safety of their money in bank deposits. Congress demands swift extradition of the absconders to India. It is important that accountability is fixed at all levels.
  14. The RSS-BJP affiliates have created an environment of distrust, fear and intimidation. Their actions threaten to tear apart the fabric of social unity and harmony. The Prime Minister and the BJP Government are intolerant of any criticism and remain in apparent denial.
  15. The RSS and BJP claim to be custodians of nationalism and patriotism. It is ironical since they are ideological descendants of the non-participants of the freedom struggle
  16. The toxic mix of religion and politics poses a challenge to our pluralistic society and inclusive democracy. RSS, which claims to be a social and cultural organisation, masquerades as sole representative of Hindus.
  17. Congress deplores the Government for undermining the established norms of governance and subversion of educational, cultural and historical institutions, facilitating their capture by BJP’s ideological affiliates.
  18. RSS infiltration of every institution, administration and the universities pose a threat to pluralism and Indian democracy. The centralisation of authority, arbitrary and partisan decision making, has cast a dark shadow on Parliamentary democracy.
  19. Congress condemns the BJP Governments for brazen abuse of power and misuse of central government agencies for targeted political vendetta to harass, humiliate and persecute its political opponents.
  20. The Congress party warns the BJP and its Government, that its undemocratic methods and acts to curtail liberty, freedom of expression and violation of fundamental rights of the citizens as enshrined in the Constitution will be strongly resisted.

‘Congress defeated by Congressmen’

Addressing party workers, Kharge said that nobody but Congressmen themselves were responsible for the party’s defeat in elections. “We defeated ourselves,” he said and called upon Congressmen to set aside differences and be far more vocal about the party’s achievements.

Reminding Congressmen of the achievements of the party, the senior Congress leader said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeps asking what the country achieved during Congress rule. He needed to be reminded, Kharge added, that dams, factories, the Planning Commission, world class educational and technical institutes, the green revolution, the white revolution etc were ushered in by Congress governments.

While the Modi Government is causing havoc to the economy and social harmony, he lamented, not too many Congressmen speak loudly enough against the disastrous policy decisions and action of the NDA Government.

In contrast, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, the Congress reached out to people across the country, inspired them to rise above all barriers, and mobilized them to form the world's biggest movement for independence.

(The article was last updated at 4:06 PM).

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Published: 17 Mar 2018, 2:04 PM