Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the party resolved to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s ideology of fascism, hatred, anger and divisiveness. “No sacrifice is too great in this endeavour; no effort too little; this battle will be won,” he tweeted after the Congress Working Committee meeting.
The meeting, held in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad, passed a resolution criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PTI reported. “PM Modi is cynically exploiting the issue of national security to divert attention from his colossal failures,” it said.
The Congress Working Committee is the highest decision-making body of the party and met in Gujarat, Modi’s home state, for the first time since 1961. The meeting was postponed after the Pulwama terror attack on February 14. The CWC members observed a minute’s silence to pay respect to the 40 Central Reserve Police Force jawans who were killed in the Pulwama attack, The Indian Express reported.
Congress leaders discussed the campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from April 11. The meeting was followed by a mega rally at Adalaj town, where Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will address her first public rally after entering politics.
United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi accused Modi of politicising the terror attack, News18 reported. “The people have been victimised, but PM Modi is playing the victim card,” she said. The meeting of the party’s Central Election Committee will be held on March 14 at her residence in Delhi, ANI reported.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the party should highlight the work done by the previous UPA government, the Ahmedabad Mirror reported. “The BJP is indulging in a misleading campaign,” he said.
At a press conference after the meeting, Congress leader Anand Sharma said Modi was trying to divide the nation and questioning the patriotism of his and the BJP’s political opponents ahead of elections. “PM Modi is exploiting the emotions and sentiments of the people to deflect attention from his failures,” he said. “Congress President Rahul Gandhi has said we will not allow the PM to once again mislead and befool people.”
Sharma said the country’s principles and the constitutional rights of its citizens were being constantly attacked, Times Now reported. “Congress President Rahul Gandhi in his speech said an attempt is being made to create India in a different mould than the one envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and other freedom fighters,” he said. “The Congress reaffirms its fight to uphold these values.”
Sharma said that the Congress had honoured the promises made in the run-up to the Assembly elections last year and waived off the farm loans in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. “What was said by the party and the president has always been honoured,” he said.
Before the meeting, senior party leaders visited the Gandhi Ashram to attend a prayer meet. They paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi as March 12 marks the launch of the historic Dandi March from the Sabarmati Ashram in 1930.
Besides giving final shape to its election strategy for the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress will also demand answers from Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party on the government’s alleged unfulfilled promises. They will discuss ways to corner the government on issues of agrarian crisis, unemployment, lack of job creation, national security and women’s safety.
The CWC meeting comes after five of its Gujarat MLAs resigned from the party recently and joined the BJP.
Hardik Patel joins Congress
Patidar leader Hardik Patel was also at the Sardar Patel Smarak where the meeting took place, ANI reported. Patel, who announced his decision to join the Congress two days ago, was formally inducted and said the party will decide from which seat he will contest elections.
“I have full faith in the Congress,” News18 quoted him as saying. “I am glad I will work with Rahul Gandhi, who has been working for the welfare of the nation.”
At the “Jan Sankalp” rally, Patel said the Congress had cancelled the meeting on February 28 in the aftermath of the cross-border air strikes in Balakot as it did not feel it was the right time. “On the other hand, PM Modi conducted several rallies across the country and took it as an opportunity to gain political mileage,” he said.