"We have had hundreds of incidents of communal violence and rioting in Uttar Pradesh, in Maharashtra and a number of other States. In addition, there have been other subtle but pernicious signals of intolerance," she said addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP).
Telling the partymen "our work is cut out for us", Gandhi said it has been a "challenging time" for the Congress party and asked them to resist the government's "authoritarian and sectarian" tendencies. "It is our task to play the role of a vigilant Opposition, to stand up for the values and policies of the Indian National Congress, and to resist the authoritarian and sectarian tendencies of the new government as it tries to get its way in Parliament.
"This we have begun to do, I believe, with increasing effectiveness," Gandhi said addressing the first meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party in the new Lok Sabha. Stepping up her attack on the BJP on communalism, she alleged that since the BJP has come to power there has been an alarming increase in number of incidents of communal violence.
But at the same time, she noted "the process of rebuilding and restoring the confidence of the public in the Congress Party has begun." "We have been reduced in numbers to an all time low in the Lok Sabha. But we have not been reduced in spirit," Gandhi said telling the partymen that the work of Congress is in Parliament, in public forums across the country, in our media and in the streets and homes of ordinary Indians everywhere.
With Congress still not getting the post of Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha apparently weighing on her mind Gandhi said,"but Parliament is not the only forum available to us. If each of us has to be an effective Congressman and woman, we must also work to maintain and strengthen the grass root connections to the voters that has brought us here."