Strengthening party must override ‘personal ambitions’: Sonia Gandhi, expresses concern over lack of ‘cohesion’ among state leaders

PTI, Oct 26, 2021, 3:14 PM IST

New Delhi: In a candid message to top Congress leaders, party president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday said strengthening the organisation must override “personal ambitions” and emphasised the need for discipline and unity for both collective and individual success.

Chairing a meeting of party leaders to evolve a strategy for assembly elections in five states early next year, she said there is “lack of clarity and cohesion” on policy issues even among state leaders and expressed concern that the messages on key issues were not percolating down to the grassroot cadres.

Former party chief Rahul Gandhi along with Congress general secretaries, in-charges and pradesh presidents attended the meeting that also comes amid growing factionalism within the party’s state units.

Gandhi said the party also wishes to focus on training its cadres to counter BJP’s “false propaganda” and will work out modalities for the upcoming training programmes.

“The fight to defend our democracy, our constitution and the Congress party’s ideology begins with being fully prepared to identify and counter false propaganda.

We must fight the diabolical campaign of BJP/RSS ideologically. We must do so with conviction and expose their lies before the people if we are to win this battle,” she said.

The meeting to chalk out a strategy ahead of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur also comes ahead of the party’s new membership drive starting November 1. “I would like to re-emphasise the paramount need for discipline and unity. What should matter to each and every one of us is the strengthening of the organisation. This must override personal ambitions. In this lies both collective and individual success,” Sonia Gandhi said in her opening remarks.

Stressing on training programmes for party workers, the Congress chief said it should be taken up on priority.

Noting that new members are the “lifeblood” of any political movement, she said the young men and women across the nation seek a movement to give voice to their aspirations and it is the Congress’ duty to provide them with a platform.

She also called upon party leaders to go house to house to enrol members in a transparent fashion.

Noting that AICC releases important and detailed statements almost every day on issues facing the nation, Sonia Gandhi said, “but it is my experience that they do not percolate down to our grass root cadres at the block and district level”. “There are policy issues on which I find a lack of clarity and cohesion even amongst our state-level leaders”, she added.

Attacking the Modi government, she said it has sought to erode our institutions so it may evade accountability and has sought to undermine the core values of our constitution so it can hold itself to a lower standard.

It has questioned the very fundamentals of our democracy, she said.

Gandhi said the party’s history bears witness to the fact that if an organisation is to succeed against injustice and inequality, if it is to effectively champion the rights of the marginalised, it must become a widespread agitation down to the grassroots.

“We must redouble our fight for those who are the victims of this government’s worst excesses: our farmers and farm labourers, our youth fighting for jobs and opportunities, small and medium scale businesses, our brothers, our sisters with particular focus on the deprived,” she stressed.

On the assembly elections early next year, the Congress leader said our campaign must be founded upon concrete policies and programmes emanating from widespread discussions with all sections of the society.

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