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Sonia calls for alliance to defeat BJP

Sagar Kulkarni, DH News Service, New Delhi, Feb 8 2018, 18:12 IST
Gandhi told party MPs to work with dedication, loyalty and enthusiasm with Rahul Gandhi to strengthen the party and said he was her boss too. DH file photo

Gandhi told party MPs to work with dedication, loyalty and enthusiasm with Rahul Gandhi to strengthen the party and said he was her boss too. DH file photo

Foreseeing early elections, Sonia Gandhi on Thursday made a strong pitch for an alliance of "like-minded" political parties to ensure the defeat of the BJP and asked Congress leaders to "work cohesively" with the new President Rahul Gandhi.

Addressing the meeting of the Congress Party in Parliament, Gandhi said the process of revival of party fortunes has already begun citing the party's performance in Gujarat assembly elections and the huge victories in the recent bypolls in Rajasthan.

"This shows that the winds of change are here. I am sure that very soon the election results in Karnataka too will underline the resurgence of the Congress," said Gandhi, who is the Chairperson of the Congress Party in Parliament.

Gandhi's call for alliance comes at a time when NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee have made clear attempts to play the sheet anchor role of the coalition.

Pawar had led the 'Save Constitution March' in Mumbai on Republic Day that was attended by top Opposition leaders, while Trinamool has pitch-forked Banerjee in the leadership role.

Congress tried to reclaim the leadership role by convening a meeting of Opposition leaders chaired by Gandhi, who is also the UPA chairperson, on February 1 that was attended by representatives of 17 parties.

Gandhi asked Congress leaders to be in a "state of readiness" for the national elections and channelise the discontent against the Modi government into support for the party.

"Friends, we have to be in a state of readiness for the national elections which are due in slightly over a year and might well be called earlier as they were in 2004," she told party MPs.

"As for myself, as Chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party, I will work with the Congress President and other colleagues in discussions with like-minded parties to ensure that in the next election, the BJP is defeated and India is restored to a democratic, inclusive, secular, tolerant and economically progressive path," she said.

Hitting out at the Modi government, Gandhi said since it came to power four years back institutions that form the foundation of a democracy - Parliament, judiciary, media and civil society - have come under systemic assault.

She said the Modi government had only re-cycled schemes launched during the UPA government with new names that were "catchy and colourful". "But this seems to be a game of maximum publicity, minimum government, or put another way, maximum marketing, minimum delivery," Gandhi said.

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