Power-drunk Modi government tried to destroy Congress: Sonia Gandhi
In a hard-hitting 15-minute speech at the Congress plenary, Sonia Gandhi accused the Modi government of working to finish the Congress in the nearly four years of its rule.
"In the last four years, to destroy the Congress, the arrogant and drunk-with-power Modi government has left no stone unturned. There is open play of allurement, money, repression and division (saam, daam, dand, bhed) but the Congress has never bowed to arrogance of power and will never bow in the future," she said.
"Rather, the Congress is putting up a struggle to expose the dictatorial ways of the Modi government, its neglect of Constitution, disrespect of Parliament, false cases against the opposition and its harassment of the media." She said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2014 slogans of 'development for all' and 'no tolerance for graft' were gimmicks to grab power.
Sonia Gandhi asked party workers to stoutly face the challenges for its victory in the upcoming electoral battles and again make the Congress a party that sets the fundamental agenda of the country.
Extending her good wishes to her son Rahul Gandhi, who took over as party chief in December, Sonia Gandhi said party workers will have to work unitedly and collectively under him for success in the face of "difficult struggles" facing the party.
She accused Modi of indulging in "dramabaazi" (gimmicks)" to earn votes.
"We are exposing the false claims, fraud and corruption of the Prime Minister and his associates with proofs. People have understood that the promises of 2014 of sabka saath, sabka vikas', na khaunga, na khanedunga were only gimmicks to earn votes and come to power," Gandhi said.
With the Congress facing a tough battle in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi referred to the party changing its political approach in tune with the times which had reaped electoral success.
She said the party had decided against forming alliances at its Panchmarhi Chitin Shivir in 1998 but decided to work with like-minded parties at the Shimla Chintin Shivir in 2003. "Due to this, we achieved a feat, which people thought was impossible."
Sonia Gandhi also referred to victory of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in by-election in 1978 to Chikamagalur Lok Sabha seat in Karnataka and said it had overturned the country's politics and the Congress reemerged as a powerful party.
"I have full faith that in the Karnataka assembly polls, our party will again perform so well that it gives new direction to the politics of the country."
Referring to the challenges, she said it was not the time to think of personal egos and ambitions but to see "what all of us, each one of us, what we can do for the party.
"The victory of party will be the victory of the country, it will be victory of all of us."
The Congress leader said party workers in states not ruled by the party were struggling hard to expose the failures of these governments despite facing atrocities.
"It is the Congress that stays connected to people, stands with them. It is the Congress which raises voice against oppression."
Gandhi said the party was faced with difficult struggle when a new chapter is being added to the glorious history of the party.
"The challenges before the Congress President and all of us are not ordinary. We have to face them with determination.
"We have to struggle to make an India which is free of fear, free of abuse of power. An India where each person has dignity of life, an India free of partiality, an India free of feeling of revenge, an India free of repression. For this every Congressman has to be prepared for every sacrifice."
She said Congress should become a party that once again represents the aspirations and expectations of all the communities and Ais the anchor of the political and social dialogue of the country."
Referring to the party's performance in Gujarat and in by-polls in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, she said people who wanted to finish the Congress had no idea about the depth of affection among people for it. She referred to the programmes of UPA and said it pains her that Modi govenrment was "diluting" them.