INTERVIEW | National

Delhi rally is start of a movement against BJP, says party general secretary K.C. Venugopal

K.C. Venugopal, AICC general secretary./ File photo   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

A rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on Saturday is the first national-level mobilisation by the Congress against the Narendra Modi government. Party general secretary in charge of organisation K.C. Venugopal spoke to The Hindu in an exclusive interview.

What is the Congress rally for?

The Congress has been campaigning at the grass-roots for several weeks now against the anti-people policies of the Narendra Modi government. There were marches and rallies at the district level and State level also. Unemployment is the highest in history, and every day we hear stories of unspeakable violence against women. An economic slowdown is upon us, and prices are rising. The Prime Minister is silent on these issues... Modiji is talking all the time and praising himself, but why is he not talking about the real issues confronting us? While people are suffering, the government is looking for new divisive issues all the time. The CAB [the Constitution Amendment Bill] is an assault on the Constitution. Saturday’s rally in Delhi is culmination of our ongoing campaign against the anti-people government but it is also the bugle for a widening of the agitation. This is not the end of our resistance against this government, but an intensification of it.

Isn’t it a little too late?

That is an unfair criticism. We have been mobilising people for several weeks now. Now the entire country will rise in protest.

Are other parties participating in the rally? Is the Congress willing to reach out to other parties to make a front against the BJP?

Saturday’s rally is by the Congress only, but we are absolutely clear that we shall make all sacrifices necessary to resist the BJP’s onslaught on India’s Constitution. We have political battles to fight against other non-BJP parties at the State level, but we are clear about the priority. The BJP is ruining the country, and it must be stopped.

Is the alliance with the Shiv Sena part of that strategy? Does it also mean that the Congress has no fundamental principle at all?

The alliance with the Shiv Sena is, of course, part of the wider strategy but that is certainly not at the cost of our fundamental values and principles. The CMP [Common Minimum Programme] is very clear in its commitment to constitutional values, and that, indeed, is the wider political struggle in the country. At the same time, we are willing to overlook small differences and overcome ego issues to strive for the largest possible coalition against the BJP. The rally on Saturday will kick-start a new nationwide effort to unify and strengthen the Opposition.

There is an ongoing campaign within the Congress for the return of Rahul Gandhi as party president. Will he be returning?

The overwhelming sentiment in the party is that he must take over as president. Some people have expressed it loudly. We all feel that he should be Congress president but we also defer to his decision. What is, meanwhile, clear is that Rahulji will be at the forefront of the movement against the highly incompetent, insensitive and anti-people government. He is committed to defending India’s constitutional values, and you will continue to see that in action.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 5:36:15 PM |

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