CWC meet: Rahul Gandhi asks workers to expand Congress' voter base; Manmohan Singh says doubling farmer income by 2022 doubtful

Addressing the Congress Working Committee (CWC) after it was revamped in December, party chief Rahul Gandhi said on Sunday that expanding the party's voter base and winning their trust back is one of the biggest tasks ahead.

"Expansion of our party vote base is one of our biggest tasks. In each constituency, we have to find people who have not voted for us and develop a strategy to reach out to them and win back their trust," he said.

Gandhi outlined the role of the party as the voice of India while accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of attacking institutions, Dalits, tribals, minorities and the poor while addressing party leaders at the CWC meeting, currently underway at the Parliament Annex in New Delhi.

According to party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, who tweeted, comments of various Congress leaders present at the internal party meeting, Rahul urged Congress workers to "rise and fight" for India's oppressed actions.

Surjewala also said that Gandhi called the newly-constituted CWC as an "institution comprising experience and energy, as a bridge between the past, the present, and the future".

 CWC meet: Rahul Gandhi asks workers to expand Congress voter base; Manmohan Singh says doubling farmer income by 2022 doubtful

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh at the CWC meet on Sunday in New Delhi. Twitter @INCIndia

Gandhi also said that the CWC was revamped to make it more inclusive and diverse. "We have tried to strike to a balance between the youth and experience in the CWC. The central idea behind the formation of this CWC is to make it inclusive, diverse and dynamic and representative," he said.

Expressing that the CWC accommodated different perspectives and gave spaces to the weakest voices of India, Gandhi said that the collective challenge was now to shape the current CWC to that level. "The CWC evolved during freedom struggle. It’s a forum where India expressed, debated, contested and consented ideas to take the nation from colonial rule to freedom," he said.

Speaking at the meet, former prime minister and senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh rejected the culture of constant self-praise and 'jumlas' of Narendra Modi as against solid policy framework for driving the engine of growth.

Surjewala also tweeted that according to Singh, "the (Modi government's) claim of doubling farm income by 2022 will require an agriculture growth rate of 14 percent, which is nowhere in sight".

Singh also extended his support to Gandhi and said the party will stand with him to "restore India's social harmony". "I assure Shri Rahul Gandhi ji that we will fully support him on his onerous task of restoring India’s social harmony and economic development," the Congress Twitter handle quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Sunday lashed out at the Narendra Modi government, saying the people of the country have to be rescued from a "dangerous regime" that is "compromising" with India's democracy, reported PTI.

In her address to the newly-constituted CWC, which met for the first time under the chairmanship of party chief Rahul Gandhi, Sonia also cautioned the people about the "reign of despair and fear" heaped upon India's deprived and poor.

She said the rhetoric of Prime Minister Narendra Modi shows his "desperation" reflecting that the "reverse countdown" of the Modi government has begun.

“We are committed to make alliances work and we are all with Congress president Rahul Gandhi in this endeavour. We have to rescue our people from a dangerous regime that is compromising with the democracy of India,” she said.

Other Congress leaders such as Sachin Pilot, Shakti Singh and Ramesh Chennithala said that the party should enter into strategic alliance, with the Congress at the centre and Gandhi as the face of the alliance, ANI quoted sources as saying.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said alliances are dependent on what the top brass of the party decides. "I am saying that alliances will be dependent on where the national leadership takes us and wherever it takes us, we will go. People are expressing confidence in Congress now," he told ANI.

On the CWC meet, Surjewala also said the focus is on the "way forward" for India. "As extended Congress Working Committee holds inspiring discussion with great gravitas & depth on the issues before the Nation, focus is on the ‘way forward’ for India - agriculture, youth, economy, internal/external security, SC/ST/BC/Women & integrity of institutions," he tweeted.

The CWC meet took place just two days after the Modi-led NDA government defeated a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha. Amid the acrimonious debate, Gandhi's gesture of walking to the treasury benches, after his speech ended, to hug the prime minister after a fiery speech, dominated screens and social media.

During his 20-minute long speech, the Congress president attacked the Centre on a range of issues and said, "You may think I have a lot of hatred for the BJP and Modi. But the truth is, I am grateful to them. The BJP and Modiji have helped me understand what it means to be with the Congress, what it means to be an Indian, what it means to be a Hindu and a devotee of Shiva."

"I have not an iota of hatred or hard feelings against you. You hate me, I may be 'Pappu' for you. But I love you and respect you because I am the Congress," he said.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Jul 22, 2018 15:52:38 IST