Congress meet Live: Combative Rahul Gandhi calls 2014 a turning point, but rules out being Congress PM candidate
The All India Congress Committee is meeting in the national capital to discuss the road ahead for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Congress president Sonia Gandhi began the event with her address to the gathering.
Here are the highlights:
4.44 pm: Rahul Gandhi points that the Constitution says that a Prime Minister should be chosen by Members of Parliament. Calling Congress “a democratic party”, the Gandhi scion says that the party will follow the norms of the Constitution.
4.41 pm: “The oppositions keeps asking for a Congress-free India…but the Congress has a thought which has not been wiped out for last 3000 years…those who tried to kill this thought, themselves got finished,” says Rahul.
4.40 pm: The Gandhi scion hits out at the Opposition saying it has excellent marketing skills, so much so that they can sell combs to bald people. He added that there’s another new breed which has started giving haircuts to bald people.
4.36 pm: Rahul Gandhi addresses Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying the country wants 12 subsidised LPG cylinders, not just nine.
4.33 pm: Rahul bats for women empowerment, saying he wants women to constitute half the strength of the Congress party.
4.28 pm: Rahul stresses on three new important steps taken by the Congress:
1. Strengthening Youth Congress and NSUI with elected representatives
2. Manifesto is not made in closed rooms now, they are done after taking inputs from all party members.
3. All candidates for 2014 Lok Sabha elections would be chosen after discussions at all levels, including blocks and gram.
4.26 pm: “We need to open the doors of Congress party and bring in young and honest people,” says Rahul Gandhi.
4.24 pm: We need to take the Congress party forward, says Rahul Gandhi.
4. 16 pm: “We need to bring the voice of the MPs back in Parliament, MLAs in Assemblies and Sarpanchs in villages,” says Rahul Gandhi.
4.13 pm: The Congress has not taken even one step that has not been in the favour of the country since freedom struggle days, says Rahul Gandhi.
4.11 pm: Rahul asks people to laud Manishankar Aiyar and Sam Pitroda for the work done by them.
4.10 pm: Rahul Gandhi lauds Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi for their leadership and guidance.
4.05 pm: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi begins his speech at the AICC meet.
3.55 pm: Supporters cheer as they wait for Rahul Gandhi’s speech, which is slated to begins shortly.
1.03 pm: Manmohan Singh thanks Sonia Gandhi, saying her vision has immensely helped the Congress party.
1 pm: The UPA has committed several mistakes, but has always learnt from them and rectified them, says Manmohan Singh.
12.50 pm: Poverty has declined drastically under the UPA government and standard of rural life has also improved significantly, says Manmohan.
12.46 pm: The country achieved immense growth under the UPA government, says Singh.
12.45 pm: People must verify the facts presented and claims by opposition parties, says Manmohan Singh. He says the Congress needs to tell people that the tall promises made by other parties cannot be fulfilled.
12.44 pm: Prime Minister says Congress has always worked for the poor and underprivileged people.
12.42 pm: “If we prepare well for 2014 and give correct information to people about our schemes, win will be ensured for us, for Rahulji,” says Manmohan Singh.
12.40 pm: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addresses AICC meet.
11.57 am: “Every milestone that we have crossed, it is because the Congress party has led the country at that moment,” says Chidambaram.
11.55 am: In the last 10 years, the UPA government under the guidance of Sonia Gandhi and leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has fulfilled its promise of inclusive development and social justice, says Chidambaram.
11.50 am: Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram claims that the UPA has gone for inclusive development and social justice.
11.21 am: Rahul Gandhi intervenes as supporters cheer and raise slogans demanding he be made the PM candidate of Congress. He tells the crowd, “In the next two-three hours, I will explain to you about what you want to hear…I will tell you what’s there in my heart.”
11.15 am: Hitting out at the Opposition, Sonia Gandhi said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wanted to divide people. She said that secularism was a way of life for the Congress, adding that the party survived because of its will to fight.
11.06 am: Despite false allegations, the Congress has continued to work for the people and the government has continued to pursue policies that have been in favour of people, says Sonia Gandhi.
11 am: Sonia says that all Congress-ruled states are committed to bringing an effective Lokayukta.
10.55 am: Congress president Sonia Gandhi says that the party is ready for the 2014 General Elections, adding that the decision taken on party vice president Rahul Gandhi is final.