Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Sonia Gandhi claims Modi government has 'dictatorial tendencies'..............

In the Congress Working Committee meet on Tuesday, Sonia Gandhi saks senior leaders to propose ways and means to reach out to the masses
  • Congress President Sonia Gandhi with party Vice President Rahul Gandhi arrives to attend a CWC meeting at party headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday and charged that the NDA government has "dictatorial" tendencies even as her party's leaders met here to draw up a strategy for painting the ruling alliance as being "anti farmer".
In her opening remarks at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's apex decision-making body, Sonia accused the prime minister of "ignoring provocative statements and speeches" by members of his Cabinet as well as BJP leaders and alleged that it was a continuation of the "strategy of polarisation" adopted during Lok Sabha polls.
With the party facing a depleting support base ever since its debacle in the general elections last year, Sonia asked senior leaders to "propose ways and means to reach out to the masses" at the meeting which was held to deliberate on plans for holding nationwide agitations against the land ordinance and other farmer issues.
On the question of the ordinance, she said, "The country's democratic institutions are being undermined. The BJP-led government has already promulgated 10 ordinances in its seven- month tenure", and added that the NDA dispensation is operating through a "perilous" notion that ordinances constitute goood governance.
She also questioned whether there was "an ulterior motive behind this hurry (to bring ordinances)?" Accusing the government of having "effectively destroyed" the Land Acquisition Act, which was brought in by the Congress -led UPA, she said that NDA "brought back, through the back door, the law passed by the British in 1894." At the meeting which went on for four hours, the party also discussed organisational issues like re-introducing the active-member concept, bringing down the tenure of elected office bearers from five to three years and providing 50% reservation to SC, ST, OBC and minorities in district and state committees of the party.
Also at the meeting, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi made a strong pitch for empowering grassroots workers and delegating powers to block presidents.
Meanwhile, scotching media speculation regarding elevation of Rahul as the Congress president, AICC general secretary Ambika Soni said the matter was not on the agenda of CWC and there was no discussion in that regard at the meeting.
"That was not on the agenda. What was not on the agenda cannot be disccused... When we are getting the help of both, why are you talking about it again and again," she said when asked whether anybody had raised the issue of Rahul's elevation. 
"This is, in many ways, a continuation of the strategy of polarisation adopted by them in last year's Lok Sabha polls as well as in the recent Assembly polls," said Sonia. Alleging that the Prime Minister has chosen to "ignore" these disturbing statements and speeches, the Congress chief said that raises questions as to "his real agenda, an agenda that causes sharp division, mistrust and hatred among communities, an agenda that can only cause grievous harm to our nation's pluralistic and secular ethos".
Maintaining that it is not just the "dictatorial tendencies" of the government which are a matter of concern but also its "anti-farmer, anti-poor policies", Sonia said that that Modi government's policies have "sown the seeds of acute agrarian crisis". She further accused the government of having "surreptitiously" undone the spirit of nationalisation of coal mines, which had crucial safeguards, by bringing the ordinance on coal mines.
On the question of Congress's revival, Sonia said that while the previous year was a "challenging one" for the party, she hopes that 2015 will herald a new beginning for it and would be an "occasion to prepare the party" for many more years of service to the country.
Expansion of the party's worker base and changes in its organisational structure were the themes that came up during the CWC deliberations as Sonia set the agenda for the meeting. Meanwhile, former Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and former Food Minister K V Thomas made a detailed presentation during the meet on the ordinance issue and other decisions of the government affecting farmers, like Minimum Support Price.
The land ordinance issue has offered Congress with an opportunity to reach out to farmers and strengthen its 'aam aadmi' plank, which was hit all the more by its dismal showing in Delhi Assembly polls in 2013 when Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party appeared to have overshadowed that image of the grand old party. Then came the debacle of the Lok Sabha elections, when Congress recorded its worst-ever tally of 44 seats. There was more bad news for the party in Assembly elections as it lost power in four states -- Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

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