CWC meet: Congress says democracy, economy, security sliding under Modi govt; releases internal election dates

On farmers' protests, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) resolution stated, "The refusal of the Prime Minister to condemn the brutal murder of the farmers and to sack the Minister of State for Home Affairs have shocked the conscience of the country.”

Rahul Gandhi with other Congress leaders ahead of the CWC meeting in Delhi (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

The Congress party, at its working committee meeting in New Delhi on Saturday, passed a resolution accusing the Narendra Modi government of “unleashing violence on protesting farmers”, carrying out “state-sponsored attacks” on minority communities and assaults on democratic institutions of the country. It also said that the Congress was “alarmed by the rapid deterioration in the security of the country” and that the “slide in the economy is a matter of great concern”.

Meanwhile, election of the new Congress president will be held between August 21 and September 20 next year, the party announced on Saturday after the crucial meeting, which approved the schedule for organisational polls at various levels.

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) resolution stated, “The agitation by farmers against the three black laws on agriculture continues after 10 months. A government imbued with arrogance has refused to engage the farmers in talks and has stood as a mere bystander, while the police and rogue elements in the BJP have unleashed violence upon them.  The tragic incident at Lakhimpur Kheri is a clear example of official support to the attempt to suppress the voice of the farmers. The refusal of the Prime Minister to condemn the brutal murder of the farmers and to sack the Minister of State for Home Affairs have shocked the conscience of the country.”

Congress leaders assembled for the CWC meeting in New Delhi (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

It added, “The Congress Working Committee also notes the unbridled and unchecked state sponsored attacks on Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, minorities and women, in order to intimidate them and deny them their rights. Congress Party will fight all such lumpen elements courageously and decisively and defend the rights of all our citizens.”

The CWC said it is “its duty to sound the alarm bells” and call upon all democratic parties to join hands to oppose the Modi government at a time when the country’s economy and democratic institutions are in a bad shape, and there are several security threats.

“The assault on democratic institutions completes the sad and shameless narrative of the Modi government. India is no longer regarded as a democracy, it has earned the label of an electoral autocracy. Parliament has been contemptuously disregarded. The judiciary has been debilitated by not filling vacancies in the courts and tribunals. Independent watchdog bodies like the Information Commission, Election Commission and the Human Rights Commission have been debased and rendered virtual ciphers. The media has been threatened into meek submission through raids and false cases. Non-government organizations (NGOs) have been intimidated and their welfare activities have been halted,” the CWC resolution stated.

It added, “The continued slide in the economy is a matter of great concern. After the sharp decline in 2020-21, the Modi government boasted of a V-shaped recovery. All signs point to an uneven and struggling recovery in different sectors. The jobs that were lost during the recession and the pandemic have not been recovered; the micro and small units that were shut down have not been re-started… The country’s financial situation is in terrible shape. The Modi government has no compunction in running the government on revenues raised through crushing taxes imposed on petrol and diesel. In order to hide the precarious state of its finances, the Modi government has launched a fire sale of the assets built in this country over 70 years.”

The resolution also stated that the country is facing security threats, with the border crisis with China showing no signs of abating, and internal threats also arising out of the situation in Jammu & Kashmir and the northeast.

“Terrorist attacks have increased and both security forces and innocent citizens have lost their lives. The administration of J&K, or whatever goes in the name of administration, is incompetent, paralyzed and in a shambles. The way forward is restoration of full statehood and holding democratic elections… In other parts of the country, notably in Assam, Nagaland and Mizoram, there are growing threats to security. Inter-state disputes have flared up suddenly driving fear in the minds of the people living in the border villages. The Naga peace talks have suffered a serious setback due to the ham-handed approach of the Modi government,” it stated.

It also added that “drug trafficking has assumed monstrous proportions” and illegal trade of drugs has “flourished under the watch of the Modi government”.

Leaders arrive for the CWC meeting (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Meanwhile, Congress general secretary (oganisation) K C Venugopal announced the election schedule, which includes a massive membership drive for the polls — to start from November 1, 2021 and go on till March 31, 2022.

Venugopal also stated that the election of PCC presidents, vice presidents, treasurers, PCC executives and AICC members by PCC general body will be held between July 21-August 20, 2022. Election of Congress president will be held between August 21-September 20, 2022, he said.

Venugopal also announced that election of CWC members and other bodies by AICC members will take place at a plenary session, dates for which will be announced later.

The enrolment of members for the organisational polls on payment of Rs 5 will be held from November 1 to March 31, 2022, while district Cong committees will publish the preliminary list of members by March 31. In this regard, an orientation camp for state trainers and in charges will be held at Sevagram, Wardha from November 12 to 15. After that, training will be conducted regularly at the block, district and state levels.

Venugopal also stated that the CWC has decided that Congress will undertake mass agitation against price rise across the country between November 14 to 29.

Earlier at the CWC meeting, Sonia Gandhi indulged in some plain speak, saying she is a “full-time and hands-on party president”.

Apparently reacting to comments by some G-23 leaders that the party needs an active president, Sonia said, “I am, if you will allow me to say so, a full-time and hands on Congress President.”

“In the last two years, a large number of our colleagues, particularly the younger ones have taken on leadership roles in taking party policies and programmes to the people — whether it be the agitation of farmers, provision of relief during the pandemic, highlighting issues of concern to youth and women, atrocities on Dalits, Adivasis and minorities, price rise, and the destruction of the public sector,” Gandhi said during her opening address.

(With PTI inputs)

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