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Congress kicks off Lok Sabha poll campaign from Gujarat

PTI Ahmedabad | Updated on March 12, 2019 Published on March 12, 2019

Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi (file photo)   -  The HIndu

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said no sacrifice was too great to defeat the RSS and BJP ideology of “fascism, hatred, anger and divisiveness”.

Speaking at the crucial Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting at the Sardar Patel National Memorial here, he underlined the Congress party’s resolve to fight the forces of hatred.  “On the anniversary of Gandhi Ji’s historic Dandi March, the Congress Working Committee in Ahmedabad, resolved to defeat the RSS/ BJP ideology of fascism, hatred, anger & divisiveness. No sacrifice is too great in this endeavour; no effort too little; this battle will be won,” Gandhi tweeted on the occasion.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of playing the “victim card” as she said people of the country were the victims of his “wrong policies”. According to sources, the senior Congress leader in her address lashed out at the Modi government for ‘politicising’ issues related to national interest. She also called for highlighting the achievements of the previous UPA government along with emphasising on the need to move forward in providing a new vision for the country.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who also addressed the meeting, talked about the agrarian crisis, hampered industrial growth and unemployment under the present regime at the Centre.

The meeting started with a two-minute silence in memory of the victims of Pulwama terror attack.

The party’s top leadership started discussions on key poll issues at the CWC meeting. The party started the day by paying rich tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at the Sabarmati Ashram here. The day also marks the anniversary of the historic Dandi March, started by Mahatma Gandhi from Sabarmati Ashram on March 12, 1930. “Today marks the anniversary of the #DandiMarch, led by Mahatma Gandhi, which played a pivotal role in India’s struggle for independence. The march was a non-violent protest against the rigorous and oppressive British policies on salt,” the Congress said on its official Twitter handle.

Other party leaders like A K Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, former Chief Ministers Siddaramaiah, Tarun Gogoi, Harish Rawat and Oommen Chandy attended a prayer meeting at the Sabarmati Ashram.

It is also the first official meeting of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was appointed as Congress general secretary in-charge of western Uttar Pradesh recently.

Sources said the CWC is likely to authorise the party president to finalise alliances in key states with other like-minded parties in order to defeat the BJP ‘unitedly’. They said the party was also likely to discuss the issue of national security and pass a resolution condemning terrorism of any kind.

The Congress, at its meeting of the working committee, the highest decision making body, will give the final shape to its strategy for the general elections. The Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting is being held at Vallabhbhai Patel’s national memorial here, with top party leaders, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh and newly-appointed Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in attendance. This will be the first official meeting of Priyanka Gandhi after assuming an active political role in the Congress party.

Later, the party will sound the poll bugle from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, with a ‘Jan Sankalp Rally’ here, party leaders said.

The day-long meeting of the Congress Working Committee assumes significance as it comes barely two days after the declaration of the poll schedule. Sources said the Congress is seeking to give a strong political message to the nation from the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, with the party leadership holding the prayer meeting at Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, followed by the CWC meet at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel national memorial in the state.

The CWC meeting is being held in Gujarat after a gap of 58 years. It was last held in the state at Bhavnagar in 1961.The party will also hold a public meeting in Adalaj in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat with the slogan of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ Priyanka Gandhi is also likely to address this meeting in her first public rally after entering politics.

Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who shot to fame by spearheading quota stir in the state and is set to fight the Lok Sabha polls, will join the Congress at the meeting in the presence of party chief Rahul Gandhi. Besides giving final shape to its Lok Sabha election strategy, the party will demand answers from Modi and the BJP on what it calls the “failures” and “unfulfilled promises” of the government.

Published on March 12, 2019
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