Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that the Congress was not just another party among hundreds, but one that identified with the soul of the nation.

Inaugurating the State-level celebrations of the party's 126th anniversary here on Tuesday, Mr. Chandy said history was such that whenever the Congress went weak, the nation too suffered and when the Congress acquired strength, the world saw the powers of India.

Stating that the Congress was crucial for the survival of secularism, democracy and socialism in India, Mr. Chandy said the party which had triggered the introduction of radical Bills like the Right to Information and Right to Education, would soon see to it that a Right to Health Bill too was introduced. This was to ensure that access to healthcare, which was now restricted to a rich few, would be ensured for all.

Veteran Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran, pointing out that the Congress was democratic enough to accept drawbacks when pointed out and to correct the same, said that anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare had no authority to issue orders to the Indian Parliament. A strike that made the Parliament look like a scarecrow was not acceptable in a democracy, Mr. Sudheeran said. Alleging that Mr. Hazare's “blind anti-Congress rhetoric” was “outdated”, Mr. Sudheeran said Mr. Hazare's strike resonated with indications of him being a spokesman for several other hidden quarters.

Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar, AICC secretary Shanimol Usman, Youth Congress national general secretary M. Liju, P.C. Vishnunath, MLA; M. Murali, former MLA and DCC president A.A. Shukoor also spoke.

Keywords: Oommen Chandy

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