Only Congress can meet challenges, says Manmohan

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Anita Joshua

‘Major challenges to the nation are terrorism, communalism, naxalism and regionalism’

“Country’s destiny is linked to that of Congress”

Foundation stone laid for Indira Gandhi Bhavan

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday billed the Congress as a unifying force, asserting that it alone could deal with major challenges facing the country. Addressing the 125th foundation day of the Congress here, Dr. Singh said: Hamaare desh ke saamne aatankvaad, saampradayikta, naxalvaad, shetravaad jaisi badi chunautiyaan hain (The country is facing major challenges like terrorism, communalism, naxalism and regionalism).

For finding solutions

The party had an accommodative spirit and it alone could claim to have the ability to carry along all sections and all streams of thought. Its politics was aimed at uniting; not dividing. “We believe in finding solutions to differences and problems through dialogue,” he said.

The country’s destiny was linked to that of the Congress. If the party became weak, the nation would weaken. To strengthen the Congress – which he billed as one of the oldest political parties in the world and an organisation that provided hope to the hapless not just in India but elsewhere also – he urged leaders and workers to be in constant touch with the masses.

Echoing the Prime Minister’s call to party men to reach out to the people in towns and villages to feel their pulse and spread the message of the party and the government, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said this should be done in a “spirit of selflessness, not seeking benefit, consolidating power or success in an election.”

After tracing the party’s role in the freedom struggle and tenures of all Prime Ministers from the party, except P.V. Narasimha Rao, she referred to the decade ended 2004 when doubts were raised about the party’s very existence. “Nonetheless we soldiered on, anchored in our core values and overcame many seemingly insurmountable odds. Our tenacity and hard work enabled us to secure a fresh mandate from the people in 2004 and 2009.”

The function was held on the land where the Congress plans to set up its headquarters; the third after Swaraj Bhavan in Allahabad and 7 Jantar Mantar Road in the Capital.

The foundation stone for the new building, named Indira Gandhi Bhavan, was laid on the occasion with the senior-most leadership of the party looking on.

Year-long celebration

With this function, the Congress launched a year-long celebration during which the party would, according to Ms. Gandhi, recall the remarkable men and women, besides events that shaped the country’s social, political and economic history, “revisit our glorious past” and “rediscover the well-springs of our resilience.”

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