Sonia asks Congressmen to introspect, self-evaluate
The three-day brainstorming session of the Congress, Chintan Shivir, began in Udaipur on Friday. Congress president Sonia Gandhi asked the 400-odd delegates to help in the revival of the party by engaging in self-criticism and self-assessment, which should also help the party rejuvenate ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. She urged the leaders to mend their ways.
“Our revival is only possible through collective efforts. Such collective efforts will not be deferred. This Shivir is the start of the journey,” Gandhi said. The Shivir is discussing six issues, including the Congress organisation, economy, agriculture and social justice. “The circumstances before our organisation are unprecedented. Extraordinary situations demand extraordinary action. I am fully alert to this. The organisation has to bring changes within itself, not just to stay alive but to move forward. We are in dire need of improvement and changing strategy,” she added. She said the brainstorming session will discuss national issues and will be a meaningful self-evaluation of party organisation.
‘BJP polarising citizens’
Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she said it has by now become abundantly and most painfully clear what Modi and his colleagues really mean by their frequently repeated slogan: maximum governance, minimum government. “It means keeping the country in a state of permanent polarisation, compelling our people to live in a constant state of fear and insecurity. It means viciously targeting, victimising and often brutalising minorities who are an integral part of our society and are equal citizens of our republic. It means using our society’s age-old pluralities to divide us and subverting the carefully nurtured idea of unity in diversity,” she said.
She said the country must sustain high economic growth to provide adequate employment opportunities for youth, generate revenues needed for welfare programmes and improve the standard of living of our people. “But the worsening environment of social illiberalism and bigotry shakes the very foundations of economic growth. Starting with the disastrous demonetisation of November 2016, the economy has been on a steep downslide. A large majority of MSMEs have been crippled. Unemployment has risen alarmingly and for the first time it appears that vast numbers of people have simply stopped looking for jobs,” she claimed.
Earlier, addressing reporters, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the shivir will uphold the message of nationalism and love. “This is a fight between Indian nationalists and pseudo nationalists. Those who stand with the principles of the Indian National Congress represent the Indian way of life and thought that has sustained this civilisation for 3,000 years. Not the fake nationalism of BJP-RSS. It is the Congress party that adheres to the Indian path of rejecting all extremes. This Chintan Shivir will usher in a clear message that nationalism and love for India is the core philosophy of the Indian National Congress,” Kharge said.