Indira Gandhi Memorial Award for Jaffer Sharief
Urging party workers to not run after power and “seats”, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief urged them to work with unity to ensure that the party returned to power in the next elections.
Speaking after accepting the Indira Gandhi Memorial Award here on Monday, he said that state of affairs in Karnataka was going downhill with the BJP in power. “My advice to the Congress leadership is to not worry about who is going to be the Chief Minister from the party. Work together and create awareness among the people about the ‘murder of democracy’ by the BJP and restore faith in them,” he said.
Reminiscing about his association with Indira Gandhi, he said that she strove to empower the disadvantaged sections of society and ensure that there was social justice. “We must follow her ideal. The Congress is synonymous with sacrifice.
Both Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv Gandhi sacrificed themselves, while her daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi sacrificed Prime Minister’s position and gave it to Manmohan Singh,” he said.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G. Parameshwara urged party workers to let go of selfish politics. “Until we let go of selfish gains, politics will never be clean. The state of affairs in Karnataka has deteriorated because of both the BJP and the Janata Dal(S). Yet we should not be complacent.
“Now is the time for us to strengthen the party and ensure that we come back to power on our independent strength without joining hands with any other party,” he said and urged Mr. Sharief to come back to active politics and guide the Congress back to power.
Siddaramaiah, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, said that the Congress was not just a political party, it “is a revolution”. “We are the sole political party in the country that is secular and working towards social justice. A communal party such as the BJP has no moral right to speak about social justice. It is a party that has no respect for either democracy or the Constitution,” he said.
Taking pot-shots at the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, he said he (Mr. Yeddyurappa) had more or less made the State Backward Classes Commission defunct and yet was inviting people from the backward classes, minorities and Dalits to join his Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP). “When I was Finance Minister, I had set aside Rs. 23 crore for the commission to take up caste census. The three BJP Chief Ministers (Mr. Yeddyurappa, D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar) have failed to utilise this amount.”
All India Congress Committee general secretary V. Hanumantha Rao, Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council S.R. Patil, and KPCC’s Other Backward Classes Wing president M.C. Veugopal spoke. Congress leaders B.L. Shankar, H.M. Revanna, M.V. Rajasekharan, Veeranna Mathikatti, M. Krishnappa, K.J. George, Motamma, Rani Satish, Roshan Baig, and Dinesh Gundu Rao were present.