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Updated: December 22, 2011 02:23 IST

Combative Sonia gives a clarion call to fight BJP

Smita Gupta
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Sonia Gandhi: “Our programmes are productive, our policies correct.”
PTI Sonia Gandhi: “Our programmes are productive, our policies correct.”

It was a call to arms on Wednesday morning, as Congress president Sonia Gandhi launched a frontal attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party, even as she backed the government. “Let us fight the forces out to destabilise us, forces who never accepted the verdict of 2004, and never reconciled themselves to the renewed mandate we got in 2009,” she said, addressing a Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting. The sole objective of the BJP-led NDA, she said, was to “derail” the government's legislative agenda. Later, at night, party MPs gathered at a dinner hosted by Ms. Gandhi.

Rubbishing reports about differences between the party and the government, she stressed, “…our political opponents have been trying to create an impression that there are differences between the Congress and the government. Let me once and for all nail this. There may well be differing points of view. But whatever is eventually done is done together.”

MPs at the meeting said Ms. Gandhi was at her combative best, as she made it clear that the party and the government were on course: “Our programmes are productive, our policies correct.”

However, she acknowledged the lack of an effective communication strategy: “What seems to be lacking is a more effective effort by both the party and the government at communicating and propagating our accomplishments.” For instance, she mentioned at length the Food Security Bill, which she described as a landmark decision. Acknowledging the “concerns” related to it, she was firm: “We must make it work because it will protect a huge number of our people from hunger and malnutrition.” The MPs must make the Bill “a central part” of their political campaign, she told them.

And even though this was Ms. Gandhi's first speech to the CPP this session, interestingly, she made no reference to the controversy over the Cabinet decision to permit the entry of FDI in multibrand retail, which has since been put on hold because of strong protests by both the allies and the Opposition.

While avoiding a direct reference to Team Anna, Ms. Gandhi described as “malicious misinformation” all the criticism of the government “for not tackling the scourge of corruption.” On the contrary, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had in the debate on black money “forcefully articulated the government's positions and actions” and “exposed the hollowness and duplicity” of the Opposition's charges, “including the conspicuous lack of action all the years the NDA was in power.”

A year ago at the Congress plenary at Burari, she said, she had spelled out what needed to be done. Since then, the party had framed five major Bills which the government hoped to pass soon. These relate to protecting whistle-blowers, enhancing judicial accountability, strengthening anti-money laundering operations, ensuring time-bound delivery of services and redressing public grievances and tackling corruption down to the block level. Finally, there is the Lokpal Bill.

On the forthcoming Assembly elections, Ms. Gandhi said that while she expected the Congress to return to power in Punjab and Uttarakhand, in Uttar Pradesh, “the challenge is to convert that support into votes on polling day.” In Manipur and Goa, where the Congress is in power, she was confident of securing a renewed mandate.

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Who said Congress has mandate of the people? Is Sonia Gandhi kidding? Dont we know the sugar barons, big industrial houses of the likes of Ambani, Tata, Birla's money that brings Congress limp to power. And that too with DMK - a party that symbolises corruption like the swastika of the Nazis for the holocaust. Why Congress wants to sell public sector undertakings? It serves the interests of desi industrialists and realtors. Why FDI in retail? Because America forces the entry of Wall Mart? Why labour reforms? Because MNCs want slaves. Who are the promoters of all this anti people policy? And the scams galore?! Not an allegation by the Opposition. But by the highest ranking auditor of the country.

from:  sathyanath
Posted on: Dec 23, 2011 at 07:23 IST

With the EVMs and the CIA to help anybody can not only be 'combative'
but Dictatorial too.

from:  Sadasivan
Posted on: Dec 22, 2011 at 22:28 IST

No political party is interested on a Lokpal over them. Even today none of the political parties have put forth their realistic opinion on Anna's Jan Lokpal. It is Congress which is required to bring the legislation, is at the receiving end. Hence it has tabled a bill to know the pulse of the individual parties. Neither Congress party nor any other party is interested in eradication of Corruption. All they want is the power and thus money.

from:  S Srinivasan
Posted on: Dec 22, 2011 at 20:02 IST

Sonia should be aware of reality that Congress also lost elections like BJP and Congress performance in last 7 years pushed India back to 1999 . It is unfortunate innocent Indians are voting Congress suffering now from poverty, price rise, unemployment. Atleast during 1999-2004 Indians have seen growth, reduction in poverty, Kargil Victory, Nuclear Club status, revolutionary telecom and industrial growth under able leadership of Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee

from:  D.A.Eswar
Posted on: Dec 22, 2011 at 19:38 IST

Even in LOKPAL they want reservation for minorities?
cheap politics played by political parties.No one can save the country if the Anna's Lokpal bill is not passed.I really dont understand what is the issue with these parties to bring CBI under Lokpal.Sonia might be in fear that they would reinvestigate BOFORS scam if CBI is brought under LOKPAL.

from:  ashok
Posted on: Dec 22, 2011 at 15:19 IST

All said & told ,deserve some kind of acceptability ;at least for a change ! Simply rejecting it even before the Bill is introduced in the parliament,smacks of one's ill-concieved mindset!Simply opposing the bill for the sake of cheap popularity :RJD & SP are no voice worth hearing ,leave aside listening! Let,therefore, the Bill be tabled, heard,discussed & be given it some shape, with minor adjustment ,if need be . Don't bury the still-born in a hurry ! Govt too has its constitutional right to be heard before it is condemend outright! After its initial trial ,it can be given a second,even third,look to fine tune it for its final acceptance.

from:  Avtar chauhan
Posted on: Dec 22, 2011 at 06:51 IST

Sonia Gandhi should realise that the government which her party leads is a minority government surviving only with outside support and that her party received votes from only about 17% of the total electorate and only from about 29% of the electorate that actually voted in the 2009 Lok Sabh election. Hence her call to her party to "fight the forces out to destabilise us, forces who never accepted the verdict of 2004, and never reconciled themselves to the renewed mandate we got in 2009” is just pompous talk. The Congress President would do well to come down to earth and accept the situation on the ground. She should also understand that in a parliamentary system, the opposition is free to use all methods, not conatitutionally and legally forbidden, to topple a government. She should also understand that Anna Hazare or any other citizen is free to lead a non-violent mass movement against the policies of the government. Any political party can also support such a movement.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Dec 22, 2011 at 06:36 IST

Sonia's attack on BJP and vice versa are all just a farce. Those two parties are hand in glove with each other to push through the parlament all anti-people measures as for example the bill on pension. You may also recall the revelations in the Wikileaks about the farce put up by the BJP when the nuclear agreement with the US came up before the parliament. The only difference between the two parties is while the BJP is a militant Hindu party the Congress is a soft Hindutva party.

from:  V.M.Mohanraj
Posted on: Dec 22, 2011 at 05:19 IST

It is time to call a spade, a spade! Mrs. Gandhi has hit the nail on the head. A irrelevant BJP with its endless theatrics, including the famous 'Rath Yatra", has no new ideas and has no hope of becoming a Government. Therefore, they have chosen to join the loud chorus of self-appointed champions of the people eg Ramdev and Anna. Despite their blunders with the manner they have handled Anna, a Lokpal Bill has been introduced and yet Anna is threatening a fast. The Congress party has earned the right to Govern and this they must do, without falling to a bJP led Anna attack

from:  V V Gita
Posted on: Dec 22, 2011 at 03:59 IST

Policies are of course correct. The failure is in implementation. I am quite confident that the Food Security Bill and the scheme to be implemented will go the same way as the NREGS. The money will be used to campaign and lure voters into voting UPA for the 3rd time. Time will of course tell, but I am sure that the astute people will take the food but vote against them in any way. I dont think the public can be fooled a third time.

from:  Tenesh
Posted on: Dec 22, 2011 at 01:19 IST
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