On the foundation day of the Congress on Monday, its interim chief Sonia Gandhi urged the party leaders and workers to unite in fighting dictatorship and protecting the country’s democracy, Constitution and the countrymen. Addressing party workers through a video message on the 136th foundation day of the party, Gandhi said the country is going through difficult times as prevailing before independence.
Gandhi said the party was launched as part of a “jan andolan” (people’s movement) during the freedom struggle and has seen times when atrocities were committed on its leaders and workers. “But Congressmen have not fallen behind in achieving their goals of getting India’s freedom and in the service of the country, despite taking lathis, going to jail and giving their supreme sacrifices,” she said, adding that the grand old party has helped lay the country’s strong foundations.
“Today, once again the circumstances are similar to those existing before independence. The rights of people are being crushed, there is dictatorship everywhere, democratic and constitutional institutions are being finished. Unemployment is at its peak, farms and fields are being attacked and black laws are being imposed on the country’s ‘annadata’ (food provider). In such circumstances, it is our responsibility to save the country from such dictatorship and fight it. This is true patriotism,” Gandhi said.
As the Congress on Monday celebrated the day at its headquarters in Delhi, Sonia and former party chief Rahul Gandhi gave the event a miss. Senior leader A K Antony unfurled the flag at the AICC headquarters in the presence of senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
While Sonia Gandhi has been avoiding attending public events due to health issues, Rahul Gandhi left on a short personal visit abroad only on Sunday.
Taking to Twitter, Rahul Gandhi marked the occasion by highlighting his party’s pledge for “truth and equality” and said that “Congress has been committed from the beginning to raise the voice of the nation”.
देश हित की आवाज़ उठाने के लिए कांग्रेस शुरू से प्रतिबद्ध रही है।
आज कांग्रेस के स्थापना दिवस पर, हम सच्चाई और समानता के अपने इस संकल्प को दोहराते हैं।
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 28, 2020
Speaking to reporters, Priyanka Gandhi said the government should “listen to the voice of farmers and take back the laws” and should not paint the agitation as a “political conspiracy”. “It is a sin to use the kind of words they are using for farmers. Government is answerable to farmers. Government should listen to them and take back the laws,” Priyanka said.
कांग्रेस इधर अपना 136 वां स्थापना दिवस मना रही है और राहुल जी ‘9 2 11’ हो गये!!
— Shivraj Singh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) December 28, 2020
Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal accused the BJP of “indulging in low-level politics” and hitting out at Rahul Gandhi “because they want to target only one leader”. “Rahul Gandhi has gone to see his grandmother. Is it wrong? Everybody has the right to undertake personal visits,” he said.
(With inputs from ANI)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines