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Congress sets uniting secular forces as poll agenda

P J Joychen, Jaipur, Jan 20, 2013, DHNS :
Rahul Gandhi (R) hugs Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before delivering his first speech as Congress party Vice-President while Gandhi's mother and Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi (L) looks on during the Congress party leadership conclave in Jaipur on January 20, 2013. Rahul Gandhi, newly named to the number two post in India's ruling Congress party, delivered a powerful call for change to meet the aspirations of the nation's 'young and impatient' population. AFP PHOTO/STR

†The Congress on Sunday came out with a road map for the 2014 general election, called the Jaipur Declaration,† which urged all secular parties to unite in its ideological fight against divisive forces.

“The Congress unequivocally reasserts itself to represent India’s famous ‘middle ground,’ giving voice to a vast majority of the people and fighting against fringe elements that foster divisive and destructive ideologies,” said the declaration issued at the end of the party’s three-day “Chintan Shivir”.

The Congress resolved to strengthen its support base by identifying its natural supporters, retaining the old ones and winning over those sections that had drifted away from the party.

The Congress claimed that it recognised the aspirations of the youth and the middle class. It pledged to speak for both through sound policies and programmes, especially in the field of job creation.

The declaration said the party would take steps to enable India to reap the demographic dividend. The declaration said the party “has plans to create 10 million jobs every year” and impart training to youth to help them take up these jobs.

“The party is at the forefront of fighting corruption at all levels, especially at the bureaucratic and political levels,” it said.


“The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance has already undertaken a series of measures to improve transparency and accountability. It has passed the Lokpal Bill in the Lok Sabha,” the document said.††

However, it acknowledged that minorities had not yet been fully secured. It urged the government to protect the interests of the minorities.

The party fully endorsed its policies on reforms, including foreign direct investment. “The party believes that the government must take initiatives that will create more income for farmers and create new opportunities for employment. One such initiative was the decision on foreign investment,” it said.

It said the party would continue to empower the common man by both legislative and administrative measures. The new law on land acquisition put compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected people as its primary concerns.† The party also declared its commitment to women empowerment.

It said measures, including reservation, would be taken to enable increased participation of women at all levels within the government. It would ensure that a prescribed percentage of the total police officers, inspectors, sub-inspectors and constables at every police station in the country “are women and eventually raise the proportion to not be less than 30 per cent.” It also said party would reserve 30 posts in the organisation for women.

It promised pension to destitute, deserted, widowed and vulnerable women above 60 years of age.†

On foreign policy issues, the party said terrorism “is the biggest threat to the world” and called for global cooperation to fight the menace. The party “wants the country to be peaceful, stable and economically vibrant in South Asia.”


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