INDIA bloc must function cohesively in Parliament and outside: Kharge at CWC meet

This will be the first time that the Congress, since its ouster from power in 2014, will get the post of leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha

Mallikarjun Kharge and Sonia Gandhi at the CWC meeting (photo: Vipin/NH)
Mallikarjun Kharge and Sonia Gandhi at the CWC meeting (photo: Vipin/NH)
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PTI

Calling the mandate of the Lok Sabha polls a "decisive rejection" of politics of divisiveness and hatred, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) in Delhi on Saturday, stressed on continued cohesiveness in the INDIA bloc, both inside and outside Parliament. Congress leaders also urged Rahul Gandhi to take the role of leader of Opposition.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, Kharge asserted that while celebrating its "revival", the party should pause a little as it did not perform to its abilities and expectations in some states. The people have reposed their faith in the Congress and given a strong reply to the "autocratic forces" and those who were against the Constitution, he said.

"People have spoken against the dictatorial and anti-democratic ways of the ruling party. It is a decisive rejection of the politics of the last 10 years. It is a rejection of the politics of divisiveness, hate and polarisation," Kharge said.

He congratulated the newly elected Congress MPs for winning the elections in adverse situations and said the vote share and seats of the Congress increased in areas where the Bharat Jodo and Bharat Jodo Nyay yatras passed through. "I want to draw your attention to the fact that wherever the Bharat Jodo Yatra went, we saw an increase in the vote percentage and number of seats for the Congress party," he said.

Kharge also hailed the INDIA bloc partners, saying each party played its designated role in different states and each party contributed to the other. "Our determination is that the INDIA group must continue. We must function cohesively and collectively both in Parliament and outside," he said.

He said the issues raised in the election campaign are issues that are bothering the people of India and they should continue to raise them both in Parliament and outside. "Further, we could not repeat our performance in the states where we had previously done well in the Vidhan Sabha elections and formed the government. Separate discussions on each such state will be held soon," he said.

Senior party leaders at the CWC meet (photo: Vipin/NH)
Senior party leaders at the CWC meet (photo: Vipin/NH)

"We have to take urgent remedial measures. These are states which have traditionally favoured the Congress. Where we have opportunities, which we have to harness not for our own advantage but for the benefit of our people. This exercise I propose to hold very soon," the Congress chief said.

Kharge said whether the party is in power or not, its work continues amongst the people "24 hours, 365 days", and raises their issues. "Whether we are in power or not, the Congress party's work continues. We have to work amongst our people 24 hours, 365 days and raise their issues," Kharge said.

The Congress president thanked party workers and leaders for working tirelessly, and specially mentioned Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Noting that the Congress won both the seats of Manipur, Kharge said the party also won seats in Nagaland, Assam and Meghalaya.

"In Maharashtra, we emerged as the single-largest party. People from all walks of life supported the Congress party to save the country's democracy and Constitution," he said.

Kharge said the party also saw an increase in the seats dominated by SC, ST, OBC and minority voters, as well as seats in the rural areas. Going forward, the Congress has to make its presence felt in the urban areas as well, he added.


"We must be disciplined, must be united. The people have reposed their faith back in us in substantial measures and we must build on it. We accept this verdict with genuine humility," Kharge said. He also thanked the farmers, the organisations working for the backward classes, civil society groups, NGOs, small groups of traders, lawyers, intellectuals, independent media and others.

The Congress chief also cautioned leaders that the discussions in the CWC should remain within the party forum and there should not be a "running commentary" on what is being deliberated at the meeting. The extended meeting of the party's top decision-making body was held at Hotel Ashok in Delhi.

Senior party leaders and members of the CWC, along with Congress Legislature Party leaders and Pradesh Congress Committee presidents from various states, will analyse the party's performance and suggest measures to strengthen the organisation.

The Congress' top brass, including party chief Kharge, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, party general-secretaries K.C. Venugopal and Jairam Ramesh, besides other leaders were participating in the deliberations.

Kharge, who convened the meeting, will also host a dinner for all the extended CWC members and party MPs at the hotel. A meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party comprising all newly-elected MPs of the Lok Sabha and those of the Rajya Sabha will be held in the Central Hall of Parliament at 5.30 pm.