New Delhi, June 1: After the poor showing by the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections, party president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Saturday expressed confidence that the party would bounce back and fight for people's rights, both in Parliament and on the streets.Terming the present crisis faced by the party an opportunity to introspect, the top leaders of the Congress said the party would rise again undeterred by challenges and ‘fight the BJP every single inch’.
Addressing the meeting, which elected her as chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party, Sonia termed the present crisis faced by her party 'an unprecedented opportunity' to draw appropriate lessons from defeat and 'renewing' and 'reinvigorating' itself and voiced confidence that the party would bounce back undeterred by challenges and fight for people's rights, both in Parliament and on the streets.
"In an unprecedented crisis, lies an unprecedented opportunity. It is up to us to grasp it with humility and self-confidence, drawing the appropriate lessons from our defeat. The people of India expect us to honour their mandate by renewing and reinvigorating ourselves. Undeterred by the many challenges that lie ahead, we will rise again," she said.
Expressing her vote of confidence in Rahul's leadership, she thanked him for his valiant and relentless campaign and displaying his 'fearless leadership' by taking the Modi government head on."I also take this opportunity to whole-heartedly thank Rahul Ji for his valiant and relentless campaign. As Congress president, he has given his all and toiled night and day for the party. He demonstrated his fearless leadership, by taking the Modi government head on. He highlighted the injustices carried out against farmers, workers, traders and small businesses, against the youth, women and the marginalised sections of our society.
"He has rejuvenated the Congress organisation in many states, and most recently led us to victory in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. As Congress president, he earned the respect and love of every worker and crores of voters across the length and breadth of the country. Even as I speak, emotional messages are coming from all corners, vindicating his leadership. We all express our gratitude to him for his sincerity of purpose, his relentless effort, his hard work and leadership," Sonia said.
Asserting that her party would continue to fight for truth and transparency, she said, "We are not going to let our guard down. We must hold the Government accountable to their promises. Progress is currently being measured through manufactured data. Progress must be measured with truth. We will continue to fight for truth and transparency.
"We must assure the people of India that we will fulfill the responsibility of an alert and responsible opposition to strengthen our democracy and safeguard our Constitution. We will hold the government accountable in Parliament. We will be at the forefront of the fight for the rights of the people, both in Parliament and on the streets."
Thanking the voters who reposed their faith in Congress and workers who spread the message of the party far and wide, she said, "Our karyakartas are our front-line soldiers. They have worked selflessly for the last five years. They ensured that the India we stand for is spread far and wide, to every corner of our great country. I want to thank them for their innumerable sacrifices in the face of unprecedented hostility from the ruling party. It is their resilience that has led to 12.3 crore voters reposing their faith in the Congress party.
"I want to thank each one of the 12.3 crore voters. Your vote to the Congress party is a vote for safeguarding our Constitution, a vote for economic and social progress, a vote for liberty, and for social justice."'
Addressing the CPP, Rahul viewed the poor showing by the Congress, which won just 52 seats in the Lok Sabha, as an opportunity for them to look inwards and introspect and expressed confidence that these 52 members would fight the BJP every single inch and that the party would rejuvenate.Observing that these Lok Sabha polls saw the Congress contestants pitted not against a political party but against every single institution in this country, he said that for these 52 MPs forcing their way into the Lok Sabha was something to be extremely proud of.
"You fought a very good election, obviously, because the people who won the Lok Sabha this time need to understand exactly what they fought. You are probably the first people in this country’s independent history, who have fought an election not against a political party but against every single institution in this country.
"There is not one institution that did not fight you and tried to stop you from coming into the Lok Sabha and you fought every single one of those institutions and you forced your way into the Lok Sabha. And that is something you should be extremely proud of,’’ he said.
"When we had 45 MPs last time, I felt it is going to be really a tough job. I felt that the BJP has 282, we are 45. What we are going to do with 45 but I must tell you very quickly within a couple of weeks I realised that 45 Congress MPs are enough to take on 282 BJP members. So, I am very confident that this time we have 52 – we are 52 MPs and I guarantee you, it does not matter what institutions are standing against these 52 MPs. It does not matter who is standing against them. These 52 MPs are going to fight the BJP every single inch, without giving this much -- and that applies to the Members from Rajya Sabha as well.’’
Viewing these elections as an opportunity for Congressmen to look inwards and introspect, Mr Gandhi expressed confidence that the Congress party would rejuvenate."You have given a tremendous service in fighting for the constitution and now you are fighting every single institution. There is no institution that is going to support you in this country, not one is going to support you. It is like during the British period, when not a single institution supported the Congress Party yet we fought and won and we are going to do it again,’’ Rahul said.
"The people who are opposing us in Parliament House, they use hatred; they use anger to fight us. And as I said throughout the elections, there is only one way to fight hatred and anger. There is no other way and that is the love and the affection and the compassion of the Congress party. That is why the BJP sits and says we want a 'Congress-mukt Bharat' because without Congress they have a free run and no one to counter them. There is no opposition against the BJP other than the love and the compassion, the affection of the Congress party. And that is what you have to understand.
Every single one of you, it is going to be, you are going to enjoy yourself, you are going to shout little more than usual. You are going to have to be a little more aggressive. Last time, if the Speaker used to give us 5 minutes but this time it may be two minutes, but in those two minutes, we will put forth what the Congress party believes, we will put forth our defence of the Constitution,’’ he added.
The meeting of the CPP unanimously elected Sonia Gandhi as its chairperson after her name was proposed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. She will make a decision on the leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha.This was the first meeting of the CPP after the Lok Sabha elections which saw the BJP retain power with a landslide win, securing 303 seats in the 543-member House. (UNI)