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Rahul Gandhi chairs first CWC as Congress president, says BJP's foundation based on lies

Rahul Gandhi on Friday chaired the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting for the first time after being elected as the party chief.

Speaking to the press after a two-hour-long closed-door meeting, Rahul tore into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but did not specify the agenda of the meeting of the Congress top brass.

In his under three-minute speech, Rahul slammed the BJP for 'spreading lies', when he was asked if he thought the 2G verdict in which all the accused have been acquitted was a vindication of Congress' stand.

"Everyone knows about 2G, the truth has come out in front of you, but the whole architecture of BJP is about lies, their whole structure is all about lies," Rahul said.

The Congress president, who had launched a relentless onslaught against Modi during the Gujarat polls, continued in the same vein as he termed the 'Gujarat model' a "lie".

Flaying the Gujarat model of development, he said, "If you see the Modi model in Gujarat, it was a lie, clearly. When we went to Gujarat and we spoke to the people of Gujarat, they said there is no model. What is going on is the stealing of resources of the people of Gujarat and that's their design"

Congress President Rahul Gandhi sits with his mother and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in New Delhi on Friday. PTI

Congress President Rahul Gandhi sits with his mother and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in New Delhi on Friday. PTI

The media interaction of a Congress president after a CWC meet was also a rare event, as traditionally, either the party skips a presser or the designated spokespersons hold a small briefing.

The Congress president also raised questions on the Modi government’s handling of the Rafale aircraft deal. He alleged that under the BJP government the same aircraft as finalised by the Congress government is being purchased at a much higher price. Without naming anybody, Rahul also questioned the Modi government's intent behind involving Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group as he asked why the contract was given to a "certain businessman" with no defence sector experience and who is in considerable debt.

Addressing the CWC, he said the BJP used the 2G issue as the biggest instrument against the UPA government which has "turned out to be fake".

"So the idea, their model, is to come up with a lie, spread that lie, and just keep repeating that lie until people believe the lie. And the good news that I can see is that people are now beginning to question it. "Across the country, they are questioning Mr Modi on the economy, they’re questioning Mr Modi when he insults our ex-prime minister. So that feeling is coming up and there is a positive sentiment towards the Congress party," he told the CWC

Gandhi said there is a lot of opportunity for the Congress "that we need to step into and take advantage of".

"It was disappointing that we lost but it was pleasing to see the Congress party fight hatred and anger with respect, love and courage. I send my good wishes to people of both states," he said. He termed the Gujarat campaign as "unique" and "a real eye-opener" for him, where he got to know how the BJP designs campaigns and "uses hatred and untruth" to fight elections. "One of the successes that the Congress party can take credit for in Gujarat is the dismantling of the Modi model of development. I was surprised when I went to Gujarat," he said.

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The CWC meeting was attended among others by former party chief Sonia Gandhi which made for a rare event as a former Congress chief was present in the meeting along with the new president. Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi held the post of Congress president as long as they lived. PV Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesri filled in the slot from 1992 to 1998 when Sonia in the aftermath of Rajiv’s assassination was not prepared to get into active politics and become Congress president.

Although the Congress party did not officially announce the agenda of the meeting on Friday, it was expected that the current political issues, including the verdict in the 2G spectrum case, the Bombay High Court order in Adarsh scam case and the Congress' strategy to corner the government in Parliament during Winter Session might have figured on the list of issues being discussed at the party meeting.

Sources said the issue of indiscipline in the party, with leaders giving out-of-turn statements that hurt the party's prospects in the recent assembly elections, were also raised at the meeting, besides the need to strengthen the organisational structure.

Without naming anyone, some leaders raised the issue of enforcing discipline in the party and action against errant leaders, to which Rahul Gandhi agreed, the sources said. "I agree. We will ensure discipline is enforced and the party is strengthened," Gandhi reportedly told the meeting.

Former prime minister Singh raised the issue of the challenges ahead for the party.

Later addressing the media, Congress communications incharge Randeep Surjewala said the CWC also discussed the current political situation and how the BJP "concocted the conspiracy" against the Congress in the 2G issue.

"The Working Committee was unanimous in saying that the momentum gained from the current set of elections would only be enhanced so that in the next set of elections Congress emerges victorious," Surjewala said.

The results of the Gujarat Assembly polls announced earlier this week brought some cheer to the Congress camp, even as it lost Himachal Pradesh and with it another state where it had a government, as the party put up a strong fight in the home state of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. The Congress lost the polls mainly because of some of its top leaders lost and it was not able to gain much in the urban areas.

The CWC also passed a resolution lauding the contribution of Sonia Gandhi in leading and guiding the party to great heights during her 19 years of presidentship.

The meeting was attended by CWC members Manmohan Singh, Motilal Vohra, Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mohsina Kidwai, Kamal Nath, Mallikarjun Kharge, Anand Sharma, CP Joshi, BK Hari Prasad, Oscar Fernandez, Janardan Dwivedi, Vilas Muttemwar, Karan Singh Ambica Soni, Hemaprabha Saikia and Sushila Tiriya.

Conspicuous by there absence were CWC members, Digvijaya Singh, AK Antony, Sushil Shinde, P Chidambaram and Ashok Gehlot. While Chidambaram was out of town at the moment, Gehlot was in Gujarat making arrangements ahead of Rahul's visit to the state on Saturday.

The newly elected Congress president is likely to hold meetings with party leaders, workers, and newly elected MLAs from all four zones of Gujarat. Although the party managed to improve its tally in Gujarat elections, it could not win the polls. Rahul is also expected to visit the Somnath Temple.

 

Some organisational changes are also in the offing with Rahul expected to appoint some new office-bearers to bring better electoral results.

Besides, two-time former chief minister Oommen Chandy and suave Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor are also likely to make it to the CWC, either as permanent or special invitees to the party's highest decision-making body, according to the buzz in Congress circles in Kerala.

Rahul faces major challenges next year as the party has to prevent the BJP from wresting Karnataka, one of the only two major states ruled by the party. It will also seek to oust BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Assembly polls will also be held early next year in Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura.

With inputs from agencies


Published Date: Dec 22, 2017 21:29 PM | Updated Date: Dec 22, 2017 22:04 PM

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