In first visit to Rae Bareli after the Congress’s rout in the Lok Sabha elections, Sonia Gandhi Friday said she will lead from the front to restore the party’s “Aan, Baan, Shaan (glory)”.
At an “aabhar samaroh” and dinner organised for workers, the Congress president said she was “saddened” by the party’s loss but had “mulled over the reasons for the past month”.’ “It was not that the Congress government did not work in the past 10 years but we failed to make our work to check inflation and corruption reach people. The Opposition kept telling lies and our talks left behind,” she said,
Praising workers for their hard work, she said they should not be disappointed with the loss of seats. “We should not be disappointed as we might have got less seats but 10.75 crore voters have voted for us. The vote share is important and seats are not everything.” The Congress president urged workers to “go house to house and win back the confidence of public” while underlining that the “road ahead is not easy”.
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Targeting BJP, Sonia said the time has now come for them to fulfill their promises. “As an opposition it is our responsibility to keep an eye on their promises as it is easier to make promises than fulfill them.” Party workers unanimously praised her daughter, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, demanding that she be given charge of the organisation at the national level to revive the party.
Sonia assured that Priyanka would continue to work with them. Significantly, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s name did not figure in the meeting that lasted more than an hour. Old Congress loyalist K L Sharma, who is Sonia’s representative, said “For one-anad-a-half years, Priyanka built the cadre, which taught me lessons even after 30 years of experience. She interviewed workers for eight hours to form committees till block and panchayat levels. She chalked out programmes like ‘Congress apke duar’ and brought everyone along.”
Former MLA from Sareni Ashok Singh said Priynaka should be given the responsibility of the entire organisation. District president Uma Shankar Mishra said it was Priyanka’s intervention at the last moment that saved Rae Bareli and Amethi from “the wave”. “Humko jhonke se unhone bacha liya.”