Lack of clarity, cohesion: Sonia bats for unity in Cong

Discipline, unity must override personal ambition: Sonia Gandhi tells Congress leaders

Her remarks came at a meeting of Congress General Secretaries, state in-charges and state presidents in Delhi, ten days after a meeting of the CWC

 Congress President Sonia Gandhi presides over a meeting of AICC general secretaries, at the party headquarters in New Delhi. Credit: PTI Photo

Days after asserting that she is a "full-time and hands-on" president, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday once again asked party workers to remain disciplined and united overriding their "personal ambitions" while emphasising that the party needs to be more representative of farmers, farm labourers, youth, small and medium business people and the under-privileged.

She also said there is "lack of clarity and cohesion even amongst our state-level leaders" on the stand taken by the party on policy issues despite the AICC releasing statements on a daily basis. She said that the party needs to be focussed on the need for a relentless fight against the BJP-RSS and the Narendra Modi government that "erode" the institutions to "evade" accountability, "undermine the core values" of the Constitution "so it can hold itself to a lower standard" and question the "very fundamentals" of Indian democracy.

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Sonia wanted the party to "redouble" the fight for those who are the victims of this government's "worst excesses: our farmers and farm labourers, our youth fighting for jobs and opportunities, small and medium scale businesses, our brothers, our sisters with particular focus on the deprived".

"To make this promise truly meaningful, we must also make our organisation more representative of this cross-section of society," she said.

Her remarks came at a meeting of Congress General Secretaries, state in-charges and state presidents in Delhi, ten days after a meeting of the Congress Working Committee where she bluntly told the rebelling leaders that she remains in the saddle and no need to talk to her through the media. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who told the CWC meeting that he would consider taking over as president, was also present at the deliberations.

In her speech, Sonia listed out the decisions of the CWC held on October 16 and urged them to take steps to make the membership drive, organisation elections, training programme and the Jan Jagran Abhiyan protest against price rise a success.

Amid infighting in several states, Sonia told the meeting, "finally, I would like to re-emphasise the paramount need for discipline and unity. What should matter to each and every one of us is the strengthening of the organisation. This must override personal ambitions. In this lies both collective and individual success."

She emphasised the need for fighting  the "diabolical campaign of BJP/RSS ideologically" and the party should "do so with conviction and expose their lies before the people if we are to win this battle".

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"The AICC releases important and detailed statements almost every day on issues facing the nation. But it is my experience that they do not percolate down to our grass root cadres at the block and district level. There are policy issues on which I find a lack of clarity and cohesion even amongst our state-level leaders," she said.

Underlining the need for training the party workers to take on the "unceasing onslaught of malicious disinformation campaigns at the behest of the BJP/RSS", she said  the leaders must train them to fight the BJP-RSS while "upholding and projecting the core Congress ideology".

"Our own history bears witness to the fact that if an organisation is to succeed against injustice and inequality, if it is to effectively champion the rights of the marginalised, it must become a widespread agitation down to the grassroots. The Modi Government has sought to erode our institutions so it may evade accountability. It has sought to undermine the core values of our Constitution so it can hold itself to a lower standard. It has questioned the very fundamentals of our democracy," she said.

Touching upon the upcoming Assembly elections, she said the Congress workers in these states are gearing up to take on these battles and the campaign must be founded upon concrete policies and programmes emanating from widespread discussions with all sections of society.

On the membership drive starting November 1, she said new members are the lifeblood of any political movement. "Young men and women across the nation seek a movement to give voice to their aspirations. It is our duty to provide them with a platform, as we have done for generations past," she said.

She asked the leaders to ensure the proper printing and distribution of forms for every ward and village. They will have to identify and assign Congress leaders and office bearers, the task of going house to house, to enrol members in a transparent fashion.

"You must ensure the clear delineation of the responsibilities of these individuals at the state, district, block, ward and village level. This is a vital responsibility that you are entrusted with," she said.

"Training programmes for our workers are therefore an absolute necessity. You have received a circular from the AICC with regard to the organisation of such programmes at every level. I want to emphasise that you should take it on priority. The fight to defend our democracy, our Constitution and the Congress Party’s ideology begins with being fully prepared to identify and counter false propaganda," she said. 

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