Make Cong party of future in TN: Sonia

Addressing a massive political rally in the temple town of Tiruchirappalli on Saturday to mark the Congress’ 125th year, Sonia gave a virtual shocker to its main ally, the Dravida Munnettra Kazgham (DMK), asserting that “we must all work to make the Congress the party of the future in Tamil Nadu.”

Nebulously adverting  that the Congress was “in alliance” with the DMK and that the party respected it, Sonia, nonetheless, exhorted the people to ensure Congress’ rejuvenation from the grassroots.

“The basic issue is we must work to recapture the distinctive identity of our party,” Sonia thundered to a large audience. She even went a step further and affirmed, “I hope, and I know this is the beginning of a new history of the Congress in Tamil Nadu.”

However, in a clear message to the DMK, senior Congress leader and Union Home Minister P Chidambram signalled that the Congress was keen on sharing power in the state after the 2011 Assembly polls.

“In the last over six years under the UPA, whether it was Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi or even J&K, various welfare schemes were being implemented as Congress party’s programme,” Chidambaram said, adding that the  Congress should get a similar implementing opportunity in Tamil Nadu as well.

While referring to the recent 13 lakh new enrolments in the Youth Congress in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, the home minister hailed the large turnout as a proof of the growing Congress’ strength in the state. Chidambaram also sounded confident that more people like former Union Minister S Thirunavukkarasar will join the party.

While thanking the people of Tamil Nadu for contributing the “largest number of seats” from any single state that helped the Congress-led UPA to form a coalition at the Centre, Sonia defended the UPA regime’s economic strategy and policies of the past six-and-a-half years. It was only a high rate of economic growth which “can sustain our poverty alleviation programmes,” she reasoned, but added that the Centre was equally concerned to make its welfare programmes, including the MNREG programme “all inclusive”.     

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