Joining his mother Sonia Gandhi, Rahul accused the BJP of lighting fires of communal hatred and setting people against each other as the party sought support of all like-minded political and social forces to come together at "this critical juncture". In his 45-minute spirited address here at the AICC session, which was repeatedly cheered by delegates from across the country, the Congress Vice President and Sonia Gandhi put an end to the debate over projecting him as the Prime Ministerial candidate, saying the party has the tradition of PM being elected by the MPs.
Giving a battle cry for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Rahul said the Congress is ready for the tough challenge ahead and "we will not stop till the battle is won". Tearing into BJP and its PM candidate Modi for his 'Congress-free India' campaign, he said Congress is a "thought" which cannot be erased.
"Whoever has tried to do it, has himself got destroyed". Seeking to widen the party's reach, he focussed on issues related to the youth, women, downtrodden sections and a new constituency of people who have risen above the poverty line and are aspiring to be part of the middle class, saying he would fight for their cause. In a virtual directive, Rahul asked the government to raise the annual cap of subsidised LPG cylinders from 9 to 12, a point that was lustily cheered by the audience.
In a bid to lift the morale of the cadre, he said however dark the night may be and tough the battle may be, the Congress will go in as "warrior" with "head high" and "not lose courage." Setting new norms for ticket distribution, Rahul, who will lead the Congress campaign, said party hoppers will not be given tickets but will go to those who have "Congress in their blood". Apparently taking a leaf out of Aam Aadmi Party's strategy, he said tickets for 15 Lok Sabha seats will be given on the basis of feedback from local units and if the experiment works, it will be expanded to legislatures.