With days left for the election schedule to be announced, the Congress campaign committee headed by Sonia Gandhi met for the first time on Thursday. While Sonia is learnt to have said that the party should focus on the achievements of the UPA government and the “attack on secularism” by communal forces to take on the BJP, some of the leaders argued Narendra Modi should be countered more aggressively and appeared concerned about the support he is getting from corporate India.
Sonia, sources said, argued the election this time was different as she argued that the secular character of India is under attack. Mindful of the perception that the Congress is on weak wicket, Sonia is learnt to have told the meeting that the party would fight the election vigorously. Sources said union ministers Anand Sharma and Manish Tewari argued that Modi’s claims should be countered strongly.
Sources said many of the leaders spoke about Modi and pointed that he is getting support from corporate India and a section of the media which is playing a role in his campaign. While they argued about the need to counter him, sources said none got into specifics. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi — co-chairman of the 50-member panel — did not speak. Sources said senior leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi strongly argued that party hoppers should not be rewarded with tickets.
He, sources said, argued that while the Congress should aggressively take on the BJP, the language used should be dignified. Besides, he is learnt to have suggested that those who have joined the Congress from other parties and those with tainted background should not be given tickets.
Sources said it has been decided that the party would hold week-long padyatras in all their Lok Sabha constituencies.