Congress is ready to fight, Mallikarjun Kharge tells party leaders

Extended CWC at Hyderabad passes a resolution that states that the people of the country want a change and the party is ready for the 2024 battle

Updated - September 18, 2023 12:44 am IST

Published - September 17, 2023 01:25 pm IST - Hyderabad

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge with Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders during the second day of Congress Working Committee meeting in Hyderabad on September 17, 2023. Photo: X/@kharge via PTI

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge with Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders during the second day of Congress Working Committee meeting in Hyderabad on September 17, 2023. Photo: X/@kharge via PTI

The people of the country want change and the Congress will be ready for the battle, the extended Congress Working Committee (CWC) said in a resolution on Sunday after two days of extensive deliberations in Hyderabad.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge stressed on unity and organisational discipline, and urged his party colleagues to set aside personal differences to take on their adversaries with full might in the upcoming Assembly as well as Lok Sabha elections.

In his opening remarks at the extended CWC meet, Mr. Kharge gave a call to remove the BJP from power in next year’s Lok Sabha elections, and said that it would a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi as 2024 marks the centenary of Gandhiji’s election as the Congress president. He noted that the foundation of democracy and the Constitution of India was laid by the Congress, and therefore the responsibility to protect it also lies with the party.

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The deliberations on the second day of the extended CWC — attended by Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chiefs, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leaders, parliamentary party office-bearers and Central Election Committee members — mainly focussed on the Lok Sabha polls and the Assembly elections to five States including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram.

After the meeting, the extended CWC adopted a one-page resolution, in which it expressed confidence that the party would receive a “decisive mandate” in these States.

Reaffirming its preparedness for the Lok Sabha elections, due in April-May next year, the resolution said: “The Congress Party is fully ready for the battle ahead. It is confident that the people of our country are wanting change. We will fulfill their expectations of law and order, freedom, social and economic justice, equality and equity.”

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In the closed-door deliberations, there were discussions on the alliances with the Aam Admi Party (AAP), which is a part of the Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc, in Punjab and Delhi. The Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Partap Singh Bajwa, Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, and senior leader Ajay Maken raised the issue of the alliance with the AAP, with Mr. Bajwa being the most vocal in his objections.

Mr. Kharge then said that the CWC was not the forum to decide on alliances, and the State units would be taken into confidence before any final decision.

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath talked about organisational challenges, and the need to strengthen block and district-level units in the poll-bound State of Madhya Pradesh.

Mr. Kharge, in his speech, too referred to electoral preparedness at the booth, block and district-level units, and urged his party colleagues to work tirelessly to defeat the BJP. The recent Congress victories in Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh were a sign that people want change, he added.

“This is not the time for us to rest. In last 10 years under the BJP’s rule, the challenges faced by ordinary people have multiplied. The Prime Minister refuses to address the concerns of the poor, farmers, labourers, women, and youth. Instead, he cannot look beyond himself,” Mr. Kharge said.

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“In such circumstances, we cannot remain mute spectators. We must unite and overthrow this dictatorial government in order to save our democracy,” he added.

Mr. Kharge accused the Narendra Modi government of playing politics of “distraction and diversion” by bringing in new issues. “Recently, during the Mumbai meeting of the INDIA alliance, the Modi government formed a committee on ‘One Nation, One Election’. In contravention of all conventions, it also included a former President to fulfil its [the committee’s] agenda,” he said.

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The Congress chief also hailed the Congress governments in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh for setting new models of governance with welfare schemes and social justice. “We must publicise these welfare schemes across country,” Mr. Kharge said.

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