Excerpts of the
opening remarks of the Congress President, Smt. Sonia Gandhi, at the CWC
Meeting on 6th June 2017 at 10 Janpath, New Delhi
I welcome you to this meeting. On the onset, I would like to
congratulate ISRO for their historic feat yesterday. We can proudly say that
ISRO symbolizes some of the finest institutional excellence that Congress
governments have delivered in the last 60 years.
The Modi government
has just completed three years in office. Where there was harmony, there is
discord. Where there was tolerance, there is provocation. Where there was
relative calm, as in Kashmir, there is growing confrontation, tension and fear.
Where there was economic potential, there is stagnation. Where there was rich
diversity, there is a brazen campaign to strait-jacket the whole country into a
regressive and narrowminded world-view.
Ironically, whatever success or progress this government has
scored has come from programmes and projects that were started by the UPA
government. But even there, they have abandoned the social welfare underpinning
of all that we had sought to achieve and failed to provide any benefit to the
vast majority of the poor and deprived.
The government’s experiments and policies are characterized by
poor planning and shoddy implementation. They have been disastrous for our
social and economic fabric. If we just look at demonetization, which was touted
as a great success. Till today, the government refuses to disclose - how much
of the demonetized currency in circulation was actually returned to the banks. It
isn’t that the Reserve Bank of India has forgotten how to count money; it is
that the actual numbers show that the scheme was a disaster. The recently
released growth figures prove that Dr Manmohan Singh’s forecast that
demonetization would slow down economic growth was correct. It is not just
demonetization. Make in India has failed to create jobs or attract investment.
Unemployment is rampant. Farmers throughout the country are in severe distress
forcing them to commit suicide. Manifesto promises that should have been fulfilled
in 2019 are now being shifted to 2022.
Worst of all, women,
dalits, adivasis, minorities and other oppressed people are facing perilous
times. Divisive issues are being whipped up, and there is an assault on
livelihoods and food habits of those who follow different tenets and beliefs. This
government is using the power of the state to stifle voices that express
different thoughts and ideas, or speak out for alternative policies and
philosophies. Whether it is politicians, institutions, students, civil society
or the media, there is growing intolerance and active persecution of divergent
voices in blatant disregard of the law of the land.
It is a matter of grave concern that there has been a rise
in lynch mobs; there exists a close ideological affinity between these mobs and
the ruling establishment.
The systematic attempt to blunt tools of accountability,
undermine the judiciary and suppress dissent, serves this Government the larger
purpose of concealing corruption. Cronies and individuals close to the
establishment have either seen dramatic increase in wealth and influence in the
last 3 years, or have escaped the wrath of the law and managed to flee the
The crisis in Jammu
& Kashmir has come to represent the colossal failure of this government. We
are facing a rise in crossborder terrorism. The insensitive handling of the
situation by both the State and Central governments are systematically alienating
and antagonizing the local population especially the youth. A divisive agenda
is being followed which has undone years of goodwill and progress. A large
number of jawans and civilians have lost their lives or have been injured, young
people have even been blinded. It is therefore imperative that the government
addresses the crisis, corrects its flawed approach, works in earnest to rebuild
and restore normalcy to regain the trust of the people. I have asked a small
group of colleagues under the chairmanship of Dr. Manmohan Singh to keep
abreast of the situation there.
The recently concluded assembly elections hold vital lessons
for us both in UP and Uttarakhand. With an energized cadre and effective
leadership we were able to defeat a sitting NDA government in Punjab but in Manipur
and Goa we failed to convert our winning numbers into forming a government. This
outcome reminds us that the BJP will use their enormous resources and muscle
power to steal mandates from us, just as they did in Arunachal and earlier in
Uttarakhand. We cannot let this happen again.
In a few weeks, we will be electing the President and Vice
President of our Republic. In times such as these, it is even more essential that
those who occupy this august office protect the constitution. Dr. Manmohan
Singh, Rahul, other colleagues and I have met the leaders of like-minded
parties to find commonly acceptable candidates for these high offices. A
subgroup of representatives has been constituted to take this forward.
We are not far from the 2019 elections. We must be ready to protect
the essence and idea of India, which this government is seeking to extinguish.
To this end, we must strengthen our organization. The
ongoing organizational elections must be completed with the utmost speed and
sincerity. The schedule for organizational elections has been determined and
will come up before the CWC for approval today. Thank you, and let us now
proceed with the agenda