No longer can and should Parliament be bulldozed like it has been for a decade now….. We have challenging times ahead: Smt. Sonia Gandhi

Extracts of the speech of the CPP Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi at the CPP Meeting in Parliament House on June 8, 2024

Kharge ji, Fellow MPs, I am deeply conscious of the great responsibility all of you have placed on me yet again. Let me first of all greet and congratulate all the newly elected Lok Sabha MPs. You have fought a tough election under the most challenging of circumstances. You have surmounted many obstacles and campaigned so very effectively. Your success has given us a much greater presence in the Lok Sabha and a more effective voice in its proceedings, both of which will help give greater strength to our participation.

The Indian National Congress has once again demonstrated its resilience. It was up against a mighty and malevolent machine that was doing its utmost to destroy us. It tried to cripple us financially. It carried out a campaign against us and our leaders that was full of lies and defamation. Many wrote our obituaries! But under the determined leaderships of Kharge Ji, we persevered. He is an inspiration to all of us. His commitment to the Party organization and its ideology is truly extraordinary and we all have to learn from his example.

The ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ and the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ were really historic movements which rejuvenated our Party at all levels. Rahul deserves special thanks for his tenacity and determination to fight on in the face of unprecedented personal and political attacks. He also shaped our narrative on guarantees and protection of the Constitution very sharply.

The CWC Resolution passed earlier in the day has also thanked all our colleagues and workers across the country who worked so hard and so very diligently for our success. On your behalf, I wish to reiterate that sentiment strongly. Lakhs of workers in both rural and urban areas have stood by the Party in the most difficult of times. We salute their courage and commitment. We owe them a debt of gratitude.

Ours has also been a campaign where we have functioned truly as a collective. To those of our colleagues who contested the elections but lost, I extend our full support and tell them that they fought valiantly and did our Party proud.

Our numbers in Parliament have increased significantly. Not only is the Indian National Congress a large contingent in the Lok Sabha but we are bolstered by the strength of our INDIA partners, some of whom have themselves come back impressively.

Yet, as we celebrate our recovery, we must also reflect on what we need to do to improve our position in states where our performance has been far below our expectations. The Congress President spoke about this earlier in the day at the CWC and I wish to reinforce his plea.

The Prime Minister who sought the mandate solely in his name to the exclusion of both his party and its allies has suffered a political and moral defeat. In reality, he has lost the mandate he sought and thereby lost the right to leadership as well. Yet, far from taking responsibility for failure he intends to get himself sworn in again tomorrow. We do not expect him to change the substance and style of his governance, nor take cognizance of the will of the people.

That is why, as members of the CPP, we have a special obligation to be watchful, vigilant and proactive in holding him and his new NDA government accountable. No longer can and should Parliament be bulldozed like it has been for a decade now. No longer will the writ of the ruling establishment be permitted to disrupt Parliament, whimsically mistreat members or push through legislation without due and proper consideration and debate. No longer can and should Parliamentary Committees be ignored or by-passed like they have been since 2014.No longer will Parliament be muzzled and stifled as it has been over the past ten years.

We have challenging times ahead. We have to be alert to prevent any attempts to increase polarization and erosion of secular and democratic values enshrined in our Constitution by the ruling cabal. All such attempts have to be thwarted.

This is a renewed opportunity for us as a Party that established parliamentary democracy in our country to bring parliamentary politics back on track to where they legitimately belong! In this election, the people have voted decisively to reject the politics of divisiveness and authoritarianism. They have voted to strengthen parliamentary politics and safeguard our Constitution. They have voted for the agenda of economic and social justice. That indeed should continue to be our objective and guide.

Friends, this is a very emotional moment for me. I have received so much love and affection from you. Let me close by the assurance to you all that I will do my best and more to fulfil the trust and confidence you have continued to place in me. Thank you! Jai Hind!