New Delhi, Sept 12: Gearing up for the coming assembly polls in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Haryana and Delhi, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday asked party leaders and workers to reach out to the people and carry out agitations across the country against the policies of Narnedra Modi government, in particularly its 'mishandling' of the Indian economy.
Referring to recent desertions from the party, with several leaders from the party joining the BJP recently, Mrs Gandhi said that the present situation was a severe test of the resolve and resilience of all Congressmen.
"Our resolve and resilience is under severe test. We cannot afford to let our self-confidence and morale falter", Ms Gandhi stated while addressing a meeting of party general secretaries, in-charges, CLP leaders and PCC presidents, held at AICC headquarters.
Referring to the leaders who left the party and joined the BJP recently, Ms Gandhi said "they have revealed their opportunistic character".
"This is the time when it will become clear - as to who are those steadfastly devoted to the Congress as an ideology (as a vehicle), for strengthening the nation, - and those who look to the Congress only as an opportunity for self-advancement. Some of our party colleagues have left us in recent times. All I can say is that they have revealed their opportunistic character", she said.
Referring to the current state of the economy, Mrs gandhi asked the party leaders and workers to go to the people on the issue.
The Congress has also decided to hold agitations from October 15 to 25 across the country against the Modi government over the state of the Indian economy.
"We are meeting at a time when there is a prolonged economic slump, when job losses are mounting by the day, when the confidence of the investors is getting shakier by the day, when the government appears more and more clueless and insensitive by the day", Ms Gandhi said and added that Dr Manmohan Singh has recently issued an authoritative statement on the economy and "I am sure all of you have read it".
Attacking the NDA Government at the centre for its 'vendetta politics', Mrs gandhi, referring to the arrests of former Union Minister P Chidambaram and former Karnataka Minister DK Shiavakumar by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI, said the vendetta politics is at its peak.
"It is a time when those who speak out against the ruling establishment are being threatened and intimidated. Each and every institution is being diabolically subverted. The voices of dissent are being silenced.
Democracy has never been at greater peril than it is now. As I said a few weeks back, the mandate of 2019 is now being mis-used and abused in a most dangerous fashion", she added.
"We must stand up fearlessly to fight on the streets, fight in villages, towns and cities. We must have a concrete agitational agenda on issues of pressing concern to the people—whether they be economic or social,"she said.
"It is not enough to be active and aggressive on social media even though that too is needed and we need to do that better. Far more important is to go to the people directly", she stressed.
Pointing out to the coming assembly elections, Ms Gandhi said, "the situation is challenging and it is only if we keep party interests and nothing else other than party interests uppermost in our minds, that we will regain our lost position".
"Let me also say that we have a special responsibility in the states where we are in power — Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Puducherry. These states must stand out as examples of sensitive and responsive governance, accountable and transparent administration.
We must be seen to be fulfilling our manifesto commitments. If not, we will lose people’s support with obvious consequences", she said.
The Congress president also charged the ruling dispensation is trying to appropriate legacy of Congress leaders Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar patel and Dr B R Ambedkar.
"The country is looking to us to confront and combat these forces—forces that appropriate Gandhiji, Sardar Patel, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and misrepresent their true message for their nefarious ends,"she said.
The Congress has also planned for an year-long membership drive, said AICC in-charge of organisation KC Venugopal and CWC member RPN Singh at the press conference held after the meeting. (UNI)