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Different views within Congress will be respected, says Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi speaks at the Jan Aakrosh public rally at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi

Rahul Gandhi speaks at the Jan Aakrosh public rally at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Congress chief refers to comments made by former Minister Salman Khurshid

Congress president Rahul Gandhi used the Jan Akrosh rally on Sunday to subtly convey the message to party leaders that they need to speak in one voice on sensitive issues.

Referring to comments made last week by former Minister Salman Khurshid that “Congress hands were stained with blood”, Mr. Gandhi said though he believed in the existence of divergent views within the party, Congress leaders should fight ideological battles in a united way.

Divergent views

“Salman Khurshidji is sitting here and a few days back, he voiced a different opinion. I am ready to accept from this stage that there will be divergent views in our party. I will allow different thoughts to flourish in my party. I will be the one to protect Salman Khurshidji, but I want to say one thing: when the party is fighting a battle, when the party is fighting against the RSS, then we will have to fight together. We have to fight with love,” Mr. Gandhi said.

He attacked the BJP for allowing only one view to prevail. “BJP president [Amit Shah] and Prime Minister Narendra Modi can never say such a thing from their stage, because in their party only one view will find place, only one thought will be accepted. And that is Amit Shah and Modi’s thought,” he said. “This is the difference between us and them.”

 

As Mr. Khurshid’s comments were quoted by BJP leaders to target the Congress, the party distanced itself from his statement by calling it “unfounded”.

Even during the Gujarat elections, many believed party veteran Mani Shankar Aiyar’s derogatory reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi cost the party’s poll prospects and the Congress had cut its losses by suspending Mr. Aiyar.

At such rallies, the Congress chief’s speech also becomes a reference point for workers to figure out the prominence of their leaders, especially in States where the party battles factionalism. So while referring to Assembly elections in Rajasthan later this year, Mr. Gandhi mentioned both Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot - front-runners for the top post in case the Congress wins the State - and took the names of Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia, party’s top contenders for Madhya Pradesh.

Asserting that the Congress’s ideology is the only one that can take the country forward by respecting different ideas and thoughts, Mr. Gandhi reached out to the youth by stating that he wanted to give them “front row seats” in party fora.

He , however, assured that everyone in the party - be it an 18-year-old worker or an 80-year-old - would be respected. “The worker may be 80 or 90 years, a leader may also be of the similar age. He may also be an 18-year-old worker, you will all be loved. And if anyone doesn’t show respect to you, I will take action against him,” he said.

The Congress claimed the party has been able to regain the trust of all sections but needs to go for changes. “The entire country is standing with us, be it youth or the old. We have to change ourselves a bit and we will do it,” said Mr. Gandhi.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 11:06:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/different-views-within-congress-will-be-respected-says-rahul-gandhi/article23717871.ece

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