New Delhi: Sending out a strong message to party leaders and possible alliance partners, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said her successor Rahul Gandhi is now responsible for all party decisions and that even she is not above him in party matters.
“He is now my boss too, let there be no doubt about that, and I know that all of you will work with him with the same dedication, loyalty and enthusiasm as you did with me. I am confident that we will work cohesively under his leadership to revive our party’s fortunes. That process has begun,” Sonia Gandhi told a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP).
Sonia Gandhi, who is the chairperson of the CPP, was delivering her first address since stepping down from the top post. Rahul Gandhi took over as party president in December.
Significantly, she reached out to other “like-minded parties” to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the next general election.
“…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 added.
Sonia Gandhi’s criticism of the BJP comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a scathing attack on the Congress in both houses of Parliament, saying India was paying for the “sins” of the party.
With little over a year left for the next general elections, Sonia Gandhi also said that the party needs to ready itself for the challenge. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress faced an unprecedented drubbing at the hands of the BJP.
“Friends, we have to be in a state of readiness for the national elections which are due in slightly over a year, and might well be called earlier as they were in 2004. No doubt 2014 was a severe setback, but I am convinced that it was an aberration… .It is for us to channel this discontent (among people) into support,” she said, adding that Congress needs to build a positive and credible narrative on issues of public concern.
In her speech, she added that agriculture continues to be in “deep distress”, the rural economy and small and medium enterprises are in “shambles” and unemployment is a problem. She also attacked the government on its foreign policy.livemint