At the newly-constituted Congress Working Committee meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi came under sharp criticism from his predecessor Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
While Sonia Gandhi said the rhetoric of PM Modi shows his “desperation” and it reflects that the “reverse countdown” of the Modi government has begun, Manmohan Singh mocked him saying the culture of “constant self-praise” and “jumlas” cannot replace policymaking.
In her address to the CWC, which met for the first time under the chairmanship of party president Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi also cautioned the people about the “reign of despair and fear” heaped upon India’s deprived and poor.
“We have to rescue our people from a dangerous regime that is compromising with the democracy of India,” she said.
On alliance with other parties, she said: “We are committed to make alliances work and we are all with Congress President Rahul Gandhi in this endeavour.”
Manmohan Singh, who was among the speakers, lashed at the culture of constant self-praise and “jumlas” of PM Modi. Manmohan Singh pointed out that PM Modi’s claim of doubling farm income by 2022 will require the agriculture sector to grow at a rate of 14 per cent, which, he said, was nowhere in sight.
“We will support Rahul Gandhi in his ‘onerous’ task of restoring India’s social harmony, economic development,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi, who took over the reins of the party from Sonia Gandhi in December last year, reminded CWC members of Congress’ role as the “voice of India” and its responsibility of “present and future”. Calling the CWC as a bridge between the past, present and the future, Gandhi urged members to stand and fight for “India’s oppressed”.
Gandhi, earlier this week, revamped the committee and dropped veterans like Digvijaya Singh, C P Joshi, Janardan Dwivedi, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Oscar Fernandes. Opting for a blend of experience and youth, Gandhi appointed Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, Tarun Gogoi, Siddaramaiah, Sheila Dikshit, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge to the committee.
Rahul Gandhi also expanded the CWC, increasing the number of permanent and special invitees. The strength of the new body is 51 — 23 main members, 18 permanent invitees and 10 special invitees. However, the Congress chief who had recently voiced his support for 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies has included only three women — Sonia Gandhi, Ambika Soni and Kumari Selja — in the committee.
The meeting comes days after Rahul Gandhi’s no-holds-barred speech in the Lok Sabha during a debate on the no-confidence motion. Hitting out at what he termed as the ‘jumlas’ of the NDA government, Gandhi attacked the prime minister over Rafale deal, demonetisation, lynching incidents, GST and unemployment. Rahul Gandhi, who hugged Modi after his fiery speech, said that he has no hatred for the prime minister and instead thanked the BJP for teaching him the meaning of “Congress, life and being a Hindu.”