Slams CPI(M) for propagating outdated ideology and following cult of violence

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has called upon her party workers in Kerala to shun groupism and stand united to fight the coming Lok Sabha election.

She was addressing a gathering of party leaders and workers at a special convention at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium here on Saturday. ‘‘There is no this group or that; we are Congress men and women and that is how we will fight the (coming) electoral battle,” she told party workers amid loud applause.

She slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its backward looking agenda for the coming elections. She criticised the CPI(M) for propagating outdated ideology and following the cult of violence. While the Congress engaged in discussions with its opponents, the CPI(M) resorted to brutality, she said.

Ms. Gandhi said she expected the coming Lok Sabha elections to be a repeat of the 2009 elections, though the party expected one more seat than on the previous occasion. She thanked Chief Minister Oommen Chandy for his hard work and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, whose nine-year tenure as Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president saw unprecedented gains for the party.

State leaders of the party, including KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran, called for unity among party workers ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Mr. Sudheeran appealed to those who had gone out of the party because of factional feuds to come back and promised that party workers would not be discriminated against and that those who deserved to be honoured would be honoured. Mr. Chandy said the coming Lok Sabha elections would be crucial and the results would decide the future of India’s cherished ideals of secularism.

In a lighter vein, he complained that he made news even when he did not arrive at a particular party function and pointed to the recent reports that he arrived late at a function during which the new KPCC president assumed charge. He said there were also news items reporting that he was not present to receive Ms. Gandhi on her arrival.

Chandy consoled

Ms. Gandhi consoled Mr. Chandy, who was aggrieved over the appointment of Mr. Sudheeran as new KPCC president without consulting him, by saying that the step was in the right direction and it was aimed at strengthening the party in the State.

According to highly placed party sources, Ms. Sonia conveyed the message to Mr. Chandy when he called on her at the Periyar Guest House at Naval Base here after the Congress meeting.

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