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Rahul Gandhi is now my boss too: Sonia Gandhi at CPP meet

By Deepika

Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday called the new party president Rahul her boss too and there is no doubt about it.

Sonia Gandhi

Sonia exuded faith in Rahul and said that she had no doubts about her boss. "There are no doubts about Rahul Gandhi. I hope you all will support him," she said while speaking to party members at the parliamentary party meeting of the Congress.

Hitting out at the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, she said that "We performed very creditably under tough circumstances in Gujarat &recent by-election results in Rajasthan were huge. This shows winds of change are coming. I am sure Karnataka too will underline resurgence of Congress.

"It has been almost four years since this government came to power. This has been a period in which institutions that are at the foundation of our democracy have come under systematic assault", she added.

She went to say that "Parliament itself, the judiciary, media and civil society. Investigative agencies have been let loose against political opponents,".

"An all-pervasive atmosphere of fear and intimidation has been created. Liberal, secular and democratic traditions are being wantonly damaged. The pluralistic nature of our society-which has been its strength for centuries-is being eroded," she further said.

"Tall claims are being made of so-called economic achievements, but the reality is quite different. Agriculture continues to be in deep distress and the desperation of farmers is sadly evident in the number of suicides, she cited.

"The rural economy and small and medium enterprises,are in shambles. Unemployment is staring at our youth. New jobs are not only not being created, but existing jobs themselves are being lost. Employment cannot happen without new investments and the fact is that there has been a marked decline in the rate of investment over the past four years," Sonia said.

"The last budget is full of sleights of hand - of jumlas - such as the oft-repeated but impossible to achieve promise to double farmer incomes in five years, and the promises of increased support prices without clarifying their basis. The disinvestment figures have been exaggerated by including the sale of equity in one public sector company to another, a revised health insurance scheme has been passed off as new and proposed without adequate preparation or worse, budgetary support," she claimed.

This government announces what it calls new programmes and initiatives ever so often, unveiling them with the flourish of a magician. In reality, they are simply recycled schemes that were launched during the UPA government. True, the new names are catchy and colourful, perhaps much more so than during our time, we must admit.

Raising the issue of conflict in Jammu and Kashmir and stressed the importance of fighting terrorism. She said, "We must combat cross-border terrorism forcefully-on that there can be no compromise. We salute our jawans who are bearing the brunt. Our hearts go out to the families of those who have laid down their lives for our country."

On communal violence, she said, "The minorities feel unsafe and are being subjected to barbarous attacks. Dalits have come under renewed and widespread atrocities,as have women. In many cases this violence, specially against minorities and dalits is not sporadic or random, but orchestrated to polarize our society for narrow political gains. We saw this in both UP and Gujarat. We will no doubt see it again in Karnataka. Such polarization is criminal in a democracy, yet those in power look the other way."

 "And what do we make of the government resorting to fictitious arguments to justify the secrecy about the price of one of India's biggest defence purchases - the Rafael fighter aircraft ? Or its refusal to respond to wholly justified demands to satisfactorily investigate certain sensitive legal cases of far reaching political consequence," she said.

 "As for myself, as Chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party, I will work with the Congress President and other colleagues in discussions with like-minded, political parties to ensure that in the next election, the BJP is defeated and India is restored to a democratic, inclusive, secular, tolerant and economically progressive path, she concludes."

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