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Will play role in tying up with other parties to defeat BJP: Sonia Gandhi

Questioning the government's record, Gandhi said it has been all about "maximum publicity, minimum government, or put another way, maximum marketing, minimum delivery".

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: February 9, 2018 5:23 am
Congress Sonia Gandhi on defeating BJP in General Elections 2019 UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said Thursday that the Congress will work with “like-minded” parties to ensure the defeat of the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections (Express Photo/Anil Sharma/File)

Declaring that the “winds of change are coming”, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said Thursday that the Congress will work with “like-minded” parties to ensure the defeat of the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

Gandhi also sought to dispel the perception that she was disengaging from active politics by saying that she would play a role in talks with other parties in the run-up to the elections. However, she made clear that her son Rahul Gandhi, who took over from her as Congress president in December, was now her “boss too”.

Questioning the government’s record, Gandhi said it has been all about “maximum publicity, minimum government, or put another way, maximum marketing, minimum delivery”.

Addressing a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party, of which she is the chairperson, Gandhi said, “I will work with the Congress president and other colleagues in discussions with like-minded political parties to ensure that in the next (general) election the BJP is defeated and India is restored to a democratic, inclusive, secular, tolerant and economically progressive path.”

The statement is being seen a signal to senior Opposition leaders who may be apprehensive about dealing with Rahul ever since Sonia stepped down as Congress president and retreated from the forefront. It is also being viewed as a message to her party that Rahul is now the boss.

“We have elected a new Congress president… He is now my boss too, let there be no doubt about that, and I know that all of you will work with him with the same dedication, loyalty and enthusiasm as you did with me,” she said.

Gandhi said she was “confident” that the party would work “cohesively” under Rahul’s leadership to revive its fortunes. “That process has begun. We performed very creditably under tough circumstances in Gujarat and the by-election results in Rajasthan were huge. This shows that the winds of change are coming,” she said.

Gandhi asked the party to be in a state of readiness for the national elections which, she said, “might well be called earlier as they were in 2004”.

Hitting out at the BJP government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the foreign policy front, Gandhi said “personalised diplomacy and public bear-hugs are all very well but there is no substitute for institutionalised processes, for hard work and preparation, and for continuity in our national policies”.

She said that ever since the BJP came to power, “institutions that are at the foundation of our democracy have come under systematic assault — Parliament itself, the judiciary, media and civil society”.

According to her, minorities feel unsafe and are being subjected to “barbarous attacks”, while Dalits and women have come under renewed and widespread atrocities.

“In many cases, this violence, especially against minorities and Dalits, is not sporadic or random, but orchestrated to polarise our society for narrow political gains. We saw this in both UP and Gujarat. We will no doubt see it again in Karnataka. Such polarisation is criminal in a democracy, yet those in power look the other way,” she said.

Gandhi alleged that investigative agencies have been let loose against political opponents, and “an all-pervasive atmosphere of fear and intimidation has been created”.

“Liberal, secular and democratic traditions are being wantonly damaged and the pluralistic nature of Indian society, which has been its strength for centuries, is being eroded,” she said.

Gandhi said that reality was different from the tall claims being made about economic achievements by the government. The government, she claimed, is unveiling new programmes and initiatives with the “flourish of a magician” but they are recycled schemes launched by the UPA. The Modi government, she claimed, “is out of touch with reality, and lives by its own propaganda and lies”.

“Agriculture continues to be in deep distress and the desperation of farmers is sadly evident in the number of suicides. The rural economy, and small and medium enterprises, are in shambles. Unemployment is staring at our youth. New jobs are not only not being created, but existing jobs themselves are being lost. Employment cannot happen without new investments and the fact is that there has been a marked decline in the rate of investment over the past four years,” she said.

She said the Budget itself is “full of sleights of hand — of jumlas — such as the oft-repeated but impossible to achieve promise to double farmer incomes in five years, and the promises of increased support prices without clarifying their basis”.

Attacking the government on internal security, Gandhi said, “Jammu and Kashmir continues to bleed… We must combat cross-border terrorism forcefully — on that there can be no compromise… Side-by-side, we must also ask, where is the healing touch, where is the developmental thrust, where is the political engagement that was so much in evidence when Manmohan Singh was prime minister?”

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  1. S
    Feb 9, 2018 at 9:04 am
    Had the congress govt in state acted boldly by resigning enmasse from MP/MLA/Ministers defying the arrogant congress high command the present position of AP would have been diffe ,and there would not have been any need for congress stalwarts to join other opposition parties( proving they don't have any party principles except survival politically under the roof of any party giving them importance).State congress govt /MPs including Undavilli( who till end was confident that president won't sign the separation being highly experienced and supreme court won't endorse like presumptions and fooled public)
    1. S
      Feb 9, 2018 at 8:46 am
      Problem with modern politicians is selfish interest,insensitiveness,and arrogance unlike the older generation who sacrificed not only their complete life and property for the sake of country.Now the voters are looking for a party which is more desciplined,less selfish,less corrupt and more educated to act in a logical way respecting the feelings of the public and not imposing its selfish decisions on people in a dictatorial way Congress did to Telugu people by dividing the state without any sense and presenting Hyderabad metro city on platter of Gold to Telangana new state( always new state has to construct its capital newly as was customary,but on the hope that congress only come to power there jaipal,jayram co manipulated for themselves,but it boomeranged).How congress the culprits for all this mess could blame BJP for this? First Congress should apologize to Telugu people,then only its fortunes turn up better and shld strive wholeheartedly for all benefits it promised forAP
      1. S
        Feb 9, 2018 at 8:29 am
        No doubt there should always be strong opposition to deter the ruling party to monopolise its hasty decisions on public.Good congress party taking initiative to unite the opposition to put breaks on present ruling party.How and who is responsible for BJP to become so strong.it is only congress party's arrogance,selfishness, and over confidence with which it decided composite Telugu state against peoples wish closing the doors of parliament and acting as dictator just to win the elections in Telangana new state on the foolish presumption that people vote it to power as it only granting Separate statehood and credit goes to it only.But both state Telugu people are very shrewd and thrown out it from states,in the process congress loosing AP,its strong fort forever.witnessing all this drama people from other states too developed aversion for its selfish ,arrogant ,indesciplined party setup.Congress has brought its own downfall
        1. Sankaran Krishnan
          Feb 9, 2018 at 8:09 am
          Let us see how many Jalra Political Parties are having tie-up with the corrupt Congress Party but the reality none of the Politicl Parties are ready to accept Rahul as their combined Leader and to be announced as PM candidate and those whoever accept Rahul are for personal gains to indulge in scams and loots which they can do if at all congress captures power. The Reality is reversed what BJP had faced earlier looking for allies and friends to join their Front now the same is faced by the corrupt Congress Party and now it is not possible for the congress to lead from the front and instead they have to lose their respect and satisfy the allies and now they will have an upper hand to deal right from seat sharing for contesting and if at all win then it will be a Govt. without adequate numbers and depends on allies who will have a upper hand and threaten right from taking important Ministries as was done under the corrupt UPA regime !!!