Cong to protest against economic slowdown

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 12, 2019

Congress’ interim president Sonia Gandhi

Democracy has never faced greater peril: Sonia Gandhi

Congress’ interim president Sonia Gandhi said on Thursday democracy in the country has never been at greater peril than it is now.

Addressing the AICC general secretaries, Pradesh Congress Committee presidents and Congress Legislative Party leaders here, she also said the Narendra Modi government appears clueless and insensitive in dealing with the economic crisis.

The party has decided to hold protests against the Centre’s handling of the economy.

“We are meeting at a time when there is a prolonged economic slump and job losses are mounting by the day. The investor is losing confidence and the government appears more and more clueless and insensitive,” said Sonia.

Vendetta politics

Slamming “vendetta politics” and attacks on institutions, she said: “We are also meeting at a time when vendetta politics is at its peak and those who speak out against the establishment are being intimidated. Every institution is being diabolically subverted. The voices of dissent are being silenced. Democracy has never been at greater peril than it is now.” The mandate of the 2019 polls is being misused and abused in a “most dangerous” fashion, she added.

She further said the country is looking up to the Congress to confront and combat the forces which appropriate Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and BR Ambedkar, and “misrepresent their true message for their own nefarious ends”.

“We must have a concrete plan on pressing issues — whether economic or social. It is not enough to be active and aggressive on social media even though that, too, is needed. It is far more important to reach out to the people directly,” she told the party leaders.

Noting that the Congress’ resolve and resilience are being tested, she said those who deserted the party in recent times have revealed their opportunistic character. “We cannot afford to let our self-confidence and morale falter. This is the time when it will become clearer who is devoted to the Congress ideology to strengthen the nation,” she said.

Upcoming Assembly polls

Sonia said the situation is challenging for the Congress in the election-bound States and asked the leaders to prioritise party interests so that it regains its lost position.

She urged the Congress governments in Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Puducherry to stand out as examples of sensitive and responsive governance, with accountable and transparent administrations.

“We must be seen to be fulfilling our manifesto commitments. If not, we will lose people’s support, with obvious consequences,” she said.

It was decided at the meeting to hold a countrywide agitation from October 15 to 25 against the Centre’s economic policies.

“It was decided that Pradesh Congress Committee delegate conventions will be held across the country from September 20 to 30 to highlight the economic slowdown,” Congress general secretary RPN Singh told reporters after the meeting.

“This will be followed by massive agitations across the country from October 15 to October 25 against the government over its policies that have led to the slowdown,” he added.

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi did not attend the meeting.

Published on September 12, 2019

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