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Be aggressive, Rahul Gandhi asks Congress MPs-elect

Congress president Rahul Gandhi with newly-elected Kerala MP Ramya Haridas as Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi looks on in New Delhi on June 1, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The first meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party on Saturday not only elected UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi as its leader but also saw a spirited address by party president Rahul Gandhi.

Mr. Gandhi exhorted the Congress MPs-elect to be more aggressive. “...You are going to enjoy yourself, you are going to shout little more than usual. You are going to have to be little more aggressive,” he urged the MPs.

Congress MPs should realise that they are probably the first people in this country’s independent history, “who have fought an election not against a political party but against every single institution in this country” the party chief said.

‘Freedom struggle’

“There is no institution that is going to support you in this country, not one is going to support you. It is like during the British period, when not a single institution supported the Congress party, yet we fought and won and we are going to do it again,” he said.

He asked the newly elected members to remember that their fight was for the Constitution and for “the right of every single individual in this country regardless of the skin colour, regardless of his religion, regardless of his gender, regardless of his State”.

 

Mr. Gandhi sought to remind them that they would be contesting against not only hatred and anger but also lack of confidence and self-belief.

CPP leader Sonia Gandhi used the occasion to praise the 18-month tenure of Mr. Gandhi as party president, amid the uncertainty on whether he would continue at the helm. It is understood that Ms. Gandhi wants her son to continue to lead the party but does not want to pressure him.

She said Mr. Gandhi ran a “valiant” and “relentless” campaign.

“As Congress President, he has given his all and toiled night and day for the Congress party. He demonstrated his fearless leadership, by taking the Modi government head on,” she said. She also credited him for rejuvenating the organisation and for victories in Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

“Even as I speak, emotional messages are coming from all corners, vindicating his leadership. We all express our gratitude to him for his sincerity of purpose, his relentless effort, his hard work and leadership,” she said.

The question on who will lead the party in Lok Sabha still remains unanswered. There was speculation that since Mr Gandhi has said he wants to step down as president, he may opt for this position.

The other front runner for the post is three time MP Shashi Tharoor who had tweeted his readiness to take on job. A section of the party feels that the position should be held by an MP from North, where the party is fast losing its relevance.

In outgoing Lok Sabha the position was held by Karnataka MP Mallikarjun Kharge. Mr. Kharge was defeated in 2019 Lok Sabha Polls for Gulbarga constituency. The floor leader sets the agenda for his party in the house, decides the parliamentary strategy and also coordinates between the other opposition parties and the government on behalf of his party. The final decision will be taken by Ms. Gandhi.


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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 11:22:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/be-aggressive-rahul-gandhi-asks-congress-mps-elect/article27401622.ece

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