Sonia Gandhi: Congress never succumbed to pressure and never will

In a power-packed address at the Congress Plenary session on Saturday, UPA chairperson and former party president Sonia Gandhi accused the Modi Government of using every trick to destroy the Congress

Photo courtesy:
Photo courtesy:

S Khurram Raza and Vishwadeepak

The Government at the Centre has spared no effort during the last four years to destroy the Congress but Congress has never succumbed to such pressure and never will, declared UPA chairperson and the longest-serving Congress president Sonia Gandhi. She was addressing the Congress plenary session on Saturday.

In a short but powerful speech, Sonia Gandhi accused the BJP Government at the Centre of muzzling the media, filing false cases and trying to defame the Congress by all possible means. The arrogant and power-drunk Government at the Centre had tried every trick in the book—Saam, daam, dand, bhed—(false bonhomie, allurements, persecution and dividing the ranks)—to destroy the Congress, she said,

In an unspoken reference to prime Minister Modi and BJP’s slogan for ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’, Sonia Gandhi called upon Congressmen to build a ‘Pakshpaat-Muktand Pratishodh-mukt Bharat’ (an India free of partisan politics and politics of vengeance and hate).

She said she is disappointed and that it saddens her to see that all the flagship programmes launched by the UPA like the MGNREGS and legislations and amendments made in Right to Information and Land Acquisition Act, Forest Rights Act etc, are being systematically diluted by the Modi Government.

Thanking Congress party workers who, she said, gave her strength, she called upon Congressmen to rise to the occasion. Forty years ago the victory of Indira Gandhi in Chikmagalur, Karnataka in 1978 had proved to be the turning point for the Congress, she recalled, and said she was confident that the good showing by the party in the Gujarat assembly election and in the byelections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh indicates that the tide is turning. She was confident of a spectacular victory in the Karnataka Assembly election later this year, she asserted. The ruling BJP, she said, had not imagined that the Congress still had a place in the heart of the people.

Congress, she declared, would always stand up against injustice and stand with the people and their aspirations. No party had done as much for nation-building as the Congress had done, she asserted. And people by now have started realising that all the deft slogans coined by Prime Minister—like ‘Na Khaunga, na Khane dunga’—were all ‘dramebaazi’ , theatrical rhetoric to grab votes.

The party, however, faced a hard time ahead, she cautioned and said that the challenges were extraordinary and each Congressman would have to rise to the occasion and make sacrifices to ensure that the India of people’s dreams is built.

She recalled that in the Chintan Shivir of the Congress at Pachmarhi, it was resolved that Congress would contest elections alone. But changing political situations made the party change its stand at Shimla in 2003 and go in for alliances. The result was there in 2004, she added without elaborating on the party’s strategy for the next general election.

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Published: 17 Mar 2018, 4:19 PM