With the ruling Congress gearing up for the 2014 general elections, Congress president Sonia Gandhi today asked partymen to set aside differences and work as a cohesive unit to rejuvenate the party even as she expressed concern over the penetration of the Congress traditional vote bank in many states.
Setting the ball rolling for the ‘Chintan Shivir’, the two day brainstorming session of the party to deliberate on the strategy for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and ways to strengthen the party, Ms Gandhi also called called upon the party leaders to connect with the aspirations of young India.
Worried over the poll prospects of the party in 2014, she also stressed need to check the alienation of the middle class with the political system.
Calling upon party workers to work cohesively for the rejuvenation of the organisation, Ms Gandhi, in a reference to infighting amomng several sections, said,’’is it not the case that we have squandered many opportunities that people are willing to give us simply because we have been unable to function as a disciplined and a united team.’’
Urging the party workers to fight as a cohesive unit to win power in states where the Congress is out of power, she said,’’in states where we are out of power especially, we should be coming together, setting aside personal ambitions and egos and working cohesively so that the party triumphs.
‘’Why do we forget the simple truth that in the party’s victory lies the victory of each and every one of us? Unity will come not from pious declarations of intent. It has to come from within. Unity is the cry of each and every worker of our great organization and it is our sacred duty to respond to it.’’
Indicating that an increasing number of protests in the country on the issue of corruption were reflective of the people expecting a greater accountability from the Government and a better delivery of services, Ms Gandhi said,’’the laws that we devised such as the right to information,
and the technology we facilitated.
give the people the ability to seek more from their elected representatives, better delivery, stronger responsiveness, greater accountability and ultimately demonstrable integrity,’’
On India’s foreign policy, the Congress president, pointing out that India’s foreign policy has always had a vision of the country occupying its rightful place and exercising its unique influence in world affairs, said the country’s influence in world affairs would be significantly enhanced by successfully overcoming poverty, improving ‘’our secular values, strengthening our democratic institutions and engaging constructively with the international community.’’
In a reference to the beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistani troops recently, the Congress president said that while better and closer relations with immediate neighbours would make for regional peace and have a positive impact on some of border states, and asserted that dialogue must be based on accepted principles of civilised behaviour.
‘’Better and closer relations with our immediate neighbours will not only make for regional peace – they will also have a positive impact on some of our own border states.
‘’However, let us be clear. Our dialogue must be based on accepted principles of civilised behaviour. We will never compromise on our vigil and preparedness to deal with terrorism and threats on our borders,’’ Ms Gandhi said .
Her remarks came amid offer of Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar for discussions following tension at Line of Control (LoC) in the wake of beheading of Indian soldier by Pakistani
troops on January 8.
Expressing concern over continued discrimination against women, the Congress president said issues related to crimes against women and children must be promptly dealt with.
‘’Discrimination against the girl child and atrocities against women are a blot on our collective conscience. The way we still treat widows, prevalence of female foeticide even in economically prosperous regions, sexual harassment, women trafficking and female foeticide are all very discturbing trends that should shake us and awaken us,’ she said.
Party leaders said the inaugural address by the Congress
president indicated the broad agenda of discussions during
Earlier, speaking at the inaugural session, Congress
leader Ambika Sonia said five committees have been set up
to draw up the points of discussion on emerging political
challenges, emerging socio-economic challenges, empowerment
of women, India and the World and organisational strength.
The committee on political challenges is headed by
Defence Minister A K Antony, the committee on socio
economic challenges by AICC General Secretary Digvijay
Singh, the committee on Women’s empowerment by senior party
leader Girja Vyas, the committee on foreign policy by
Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and that on organisational
strength by Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
After the inaugural address by Ms Gandhi, all the groups
gathered to discuss their assigned subjects. The groups
will end their deliberations tomorrow afternoon and
thereafter meet the Congress president with their
All the five groups will then meet to prepare a final
draft of the deliberations which will be presented at an
extended meeting of the Congress Working committee on
‘The copies of the document prepared by the groups and
presented before the CWC will be circulated among the
delegates attending the AICC plenary on January 20 and will
form the basis of the Jaipur Declaration,” Ms Soni said.
A total of 350 delegates, including Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh, Cabinet Ministers and the Ministers of
State in the UPA II, AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi
and AICC general secretaries incharge of various states and
leaders of the Youth Congress are participating in the
Chintan Shivir and AICC plenary.
Presence of a large number of leaders from the Youth
Congress and NSUI at the Conclave is aimed at ensuring that
youth voices are heard in the party.
The AICC Plenary on January 20 will begin with opening
remarks by Ms Gandhi. This will be followed by discussions
on the document prepared by the five groups and addresses
by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and AICC General Secretary
The AICC Plenary will end with the closing remarks by the Congress president.
Party leaders say that the conclave is being called to
generate fresh ideas ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections
for confronting the rural and the urban challenges faced by
The ‘Chintan shivir’ comes at a time when the Congress
party is under attack from the Opposition on the issue of
corruption and facing public outrage over the recent
Gangrape incident in Delhi.
It also comes close on the heels of the ceasefire
violation by Pakistan along the LoC, which has led to
pressure on the Government to do a rethink on its peace
process with Pakistan.
The Indian Air Force chief N A K Browne has termed the
recent incidents of ceasefire violations as totally
unacceptable and warned Pakistan that if the trend
continues India will be forced to consider “other
“We have a Line of Control, we have a ceasefire
agreement, we have certain mechanisms. We have certain
structures, which are sacrosanct, and any violation of
these with impunity, especially as what’s been happening in
the last few months is totally unacceptable,” he said at a
function in Delhi earlier this week.
Congress leaders for bigger role for Rahul Gandhi in party
Jaipur, Jan 18 (UNI) Just ahead of the Chintan Shivir, the brainstorming conclave of the ruling Congress to deliberate on the strategy for the 2014 polls and the current socio-economic and political situation, Congress leaders today called for a ‘bigger’ role for AICC General secretary Rahul Gandhi as the party prepares for the Lok Sabha elections.
Advocating a bigger role for the Congress youth icon, AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh said, ‘’the sentiment of the Congress workers is for Rahul playing a larger role in the party. ‘’Even earlier the party has given a larger role for those in their 40s.’’ Echoing the sentiment, senior leader and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, ‘’We are all for giving Rahul a bigger responsibility in the party.
It is the feeling
among the workers of the party.’’