“Urgent Need For United Opposition” To Take On BJP In 2024: Congress
The Congress on Saturday asserted that it is the only party that can provide capable and decisive leadership to the country, but was ready to make sacrifices to defeat the BJP-led NDA and would go all out to identify, mobilise and align like-minded secular forces to achieve its goal.
The party, which chalked strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls at its 85th plenary session in Raipur, also cautioned that the emergence of any third force would give advantage to the BJP and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
The Congress said it is willing to forge a viable alternative by aligning with like-minded parties and regional outfits that agree with its ideology to get rid of the “anti-people and undemocratic” BJP government in the general elections.
The Congress’ pitch on opposition unity comes amid Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar urging the grand old party to make a quick decision on aligning for the 2024 polls and some regional outfits such as the Bharat Rashtra Samithi talking of a third front.
“Unity of secular and socialist forces will be the hallmark of the future of the Congress party. Congress should go all out to identify, mobilise and align like-minded secular forces,” the party said in its political resolution adopted at the plenary.
“We should include secular regional forces who agree with our ideology. There is an urgent need for a united opposition to take on the NDA on common ideological grounds. Emergence of any third force will provide advantage to the BJP/NDA,” it said.
The second day of the three-day brainstorming session saw the party adopting 85 amendments to its constitution and adoption of three resolutions on the political situation, economy and international affairs.
The amended constitution would enable 50 per cent reservation to SCs/STs/OBCs and minorities at all posts in the party and also provide 50 per cent reservation to people below 50 years and women in both reserved and unreserved categories.
The Congress also decided to raise the Congress Working Committee membership from the current 23 to 35 and provide automatic membership in the top body to former prime ministers, former All India Congress Committee (AICC) chiefs and leaders of the Congress in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
The party said it will have only digital membership and make its records digital.
The conclave is being held to make the Congress poll-ready ahead of next round of assembly polls and the 2024 general elections.
The demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the Adani-Hindenburg issue was also made in the economic resolution adopted at the plenary, with the assertion that it is against “government-facilitated” private monopolies and not against any person rising from a humble background to become the second richest in the world.
In its political resolution, the Congress also said it will build the widest-possible consensus with all like-minded parties to take up concerns over efficacy of EVMs (electronic voting machines) with the Election Commission and would move court if it does not respond.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge set the tone by asserting that in the prevailing difficult circumstances, “the Indian National Congress is the only party in the country that can provide capable and decisive leadership to the country”.
He said from 2014, Congress’ alliance with like-minded parties served the people of the country effectively and “we once again look forward to forging a viable alternative by aligning with like-minded parties to defeat the anti-people, undemocratic BJP government.
“We are ready to strive for the welfare of the people of our country and whatever sacrifices that are required, our goal for upcoming state elections and Lok Sabha election 2024 is clear,” he stressed.
In her address at the plenary, former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi urged party workers to achieve the goal of defeating the BJP in the 2024 polls under the Kharge’s leadership.
“The path ahead is not easy. But my experience, as well as the rich history of the Congress, tells me that victory will be ours. To achieve it under Kharge ji’s leadership, we must tackle the regime with boldness and vigour, and stand side-by-side with the people it attacks,” she asserted.
Urging Congress workers to reach out to people and convey the party’s message with clarity and cohesion, Sonia Gandhi said, “We must work with discipline and timeliness, to respond quickly in this fast-paced age.” Giving a word of caution, she said, “Above all, we must be ready to put aside our personal expectations, make sacrifices, and work with unity and a sense of common purpose.” Noting that these are challenging times, she launched an all-out attack on the Modi dispensation, saying, “Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and the BJP-RSS regime has relentlessly captured and subverted every single institution.” “It ruthlessly silences any voice of opposition. It has caused economic ruin by favouring a few chosen businessmen at the expense of all others and of the people, of the ordinary people,” the former Congress chief said.
“Most distressingly, it fuels the fires of fear and hatred against fellow Indians. It viciously targeted minorities, and ignored crimes and discrimination against them, against women, against Dalits and against adivasis. It mocked (Mahatma) Gandhiji, and through its words and actions shows its contempt for the values of our Constitution,” she said.
Sonia Gandhi said she was happy that her innings could conclude with the Bharat Jodo Yatra, with the party asserting that the remark was about her tenure as the party president and had nothing to do with her retirement from politics as construed by some.
She also expressed gratification for her innings, as the party showered praise on the septuagenarian for the achievements after she became its president 25 years ago. The party also adopted a resolution appreciating her role as party chief.
Former Union minister M Veerappa Moily, who was the chairman of the sub-group on political affairs for the plenary, said, “We have definitely given a roadmap for the Congress-led government to come back in 2024. We shall take the initiative, unite all secular and socialist forces to come along with the Congress to re-establish the Congress-led government in the country.” Mr Kharge also took a swipe at Prime Minister Modi, alleging that the “pradhan sevak of Delhi, who gets advertisements printed every day, is serving his own friend”.
He also launched a blistering attack on the government, alleging that “the DNA of those sitting in Delhi is anti-poor” and they are attempting to “destroy” democracy. He also called for a people’s movement against the prevailing situation in the country.
The Congress in its political resolution also said it will infuse new blood in leadership roles without creating new fault lines and cementing its ideological moorings.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)