Congress party president Sonia Gandhi took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi setting the tone for the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meet early on Tuesday. The principal opposition party held the meeting of its top decision making body, the CWC, at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi. After nearly two rounds of deliberations, the resolution was passed to extend Sonia Gandhi’s tenure as a party President for another year. The meeting also assumed significance in the light of the party facing several difficult elections in months to come and an all-important issue of organisational restructuring.
Opening her address at the top decision making meet, Sonia Gandhi came down heavily on the ruling party and especially the Prime Minister.
“Prime Minister has been reduced to unedifying flip-flops creating confusion on what he really stands for,” Sonia Gandhi said presiding the CWC meeting.
“The Modi government has failed abysmally to match words with deeds, to match media events with actual accomplishments,” Ms Gandhi added in her sharp criticism of the Prime Minister.
Speaking before the topmost office bearers of the Congress party, including former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and leaders of the Congress party in the two houses of the Parliament, Sonia Gandhi opened her criticism by taking on the incumbent Modi-led BJP government over the issue of Land Ordinance.
“The Modi government chose to disregard the will of Parliament and displayed an inexplicable hurry to snatch lands from our farmers… Thanks to our Party’s sustained campaign, the government has been compelled to withdraw its anti-farmer amendments,” Ms Gandhi said.
The Ordinance on the land acquisition had generated a massive protest by the opposition groups, especially by the Congress party, which termed it ‘anti-farmer’ and ‘anti-poor’. Though lapsed now, the Ordinance raised discomfort even within the Modi government with many of BJP’s allies like Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal registering their opposition against it.
“It goes without saying that lakhs of farmers across the country tirelessly demonstrated and agitated against this Ordinance,” Sonia Gandhi said talking about the series of protest and demonstration held by several farmer’s group even inside the capital.
Congress party chief also questioned the government over its policy on the relations with Pakistan and a reeling issue of continuous ceasefire violation by Pakistan forces on the LoC and at the International Border.
“Instead of a coherent policy on Pakistan, this government can’t seem to make up its mind on what it should do… Our jawans and civilians are being increasingly targeted,” Ms Gandhi said.
Besides, she also took on BJP-led NDA government on the issues of rising prices, economy and its flagship initiatives aimed at creating jobs.
“The economy is on a downward slide while prices continue on their unrelenting rise… As for promises such as the creation of jobs or slogans such as Make in India, the less said about them the better,” the AICC chief told the Congress Working Committee.
Among the issues it discussed, the CWC once again deferred the organisational restructuring by another year and with Sonia Gandhi continuing as the party chief, it has put at rest the speculations of Rahul Gandhi taking over the mantle of the grand old party.
The party also took the stock of its strength in the states where elections are due in next six months – Bihar, Assam, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, among the crucial ones. While it is running a government in Assam and is in alliance with the incumbent JD (U) in Bihar, its organisational structure in the big states of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu happens to be in doldrums.
Lastly, Sonia Gandhi also raised the vital issues like attack on the freedom of press and autonomy and the institutions.
Claiming that the media is being threatened with “notices” and other “repressive” measures, Ms Gandhi said, “Autonomy and integrity of vital institutions which have stood the country in good stead are being systematically eroded. Writers and progressive thinkers are being physically eliminated.”