Udaipur chintan shivir National

PM Modi has kept nation polarised: Sonia Gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi addressing at the Nav Sankalp Shivir at Udaipur on May 13, 2022.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi addressing at the Nav Sankalp Shivir at Udaipur on May 13, 2022. | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s philosophy of “maximum governance and minimum government” translates into keeping the country in a permanent state of polarisation, “brutalising” the minorities and targeting political opponents, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Friday.

Inaugurating the three-day Nav Sankalp chintan shivir at Udaipur, Ms. Gandhi said “extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary actions” and called on her party colleagues to repay their debt to the party by putting the organisation above their personal ambitions.  She called for urgent changes in the style of functioning of the party.

The Congress chief urged the 450-odd delegates at the chintan shivir, being held after a string of electoral defeats, including in the recent Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa, to deliberate with an open mind, but send out a single message of a strong and a united party.

“In one way this [transformation] is the most fundamental issue. Our revival is only possible through collective efforts. Such collective efforts will not be deferred. This shivir is the start of the journey,” Ms. Gandhi said.

“The circumstances before our organisation are unprecedented. Extraordinary situations demand extraordinary action. I am fully alert to this. The organisation has to bring changes within itself, not just to stay alive but to move forward. We are in dire need of improvement and changing strategy,” she added.

‘Perpetual frenzy’

Though the three-day brainstorming camp is primarily aimed at bringing about changes in Congress’s organisation structure as well as political narrative, Ms. Gandhi’s opening remarks were a blistering attack on the Modi government.

Asserting that the vast majority of Indians want to live in peace and harmony, the Congress chief said the BJP and its cohorts want the people to live in “perpetual frenzy” by provoking and instigating them.

She questioned “the silence of the ever so eloquent Prime Minister when the healing touch is most needed”.

“It is both chintan [introspection] about national issues and meaningful atma chintan [self-introspection] about our party organisation,” Ms. Gandhi observed.

The Congress chief accused the Modi government of “ using our society’s age-old pluralities to divide us, and subverting the carefully nurtured idea of unity and diversity”.

“By now it has become abundantly and most painfully clear what Prime Minister Modi and his colleagues really mean by their frequently repeated slogan: maximum governance, minimum government. It means keeping the country in a state of permanent polarisation, compelling people to live in a constant state of fear and insecurity. It means viciously targeting, victimising and often brutalising of minorities who are an integral part of our society and equal citizens of our republic,” she said.

“It means threatening and intimidating political opponents, maligning their reputation, jailing them on flimsy pretexts and misusing investigative agencies,” the Congress chief added. She charged the Centre with using fear to make the bureaucracy, corporate India, sections of the civil society and the media fall in line.

Denigrating leaders

Ms. Gandhi accused the BJP-led government of “wholesale reinvention of history”, constant denigration of its leaders, especially Jawaharlal Nehru, a systematic move to distort, deny and destroy their [Congress leaders’] contributions and sacrifices and glorifying the killers of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Centre has blatantly undermined the principles of the Constitution such as justice, liberty, equality, fraternity and secularism, and eroded the independence and professionalism of all institutions, she alleged.

The Congress chief said the Modi government was turning a blind eye to continued atrocities across the country on weaker sections, especially Dalits, Adivasis and women.

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Printable version | May 14, 2022 2:00:23 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-president-sonia-gandhi-addresses-chintan-shivir-in-udipur/article65410643.ece