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CWC gears up for 2019 with sharp attack on BJP

Saturday, October 06, 2018
By Prakash Bal Joshi

The Congress Working Committee meeting held its special meeting in Wardha’s Sewagram Ashram set up by Mahatma Gandhi and made his home in early 1936 to pay its respect on Bapu’s 150th birth anniversary.

The party is worried the way the BJP and especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched nationwide programmes to commemorate the birth anniversary in a massive scale. The main message the party sent out from the CWC meeting was it is the only party which rightly claim to be Gandhian real “embodiment of Bharat”.

The party hopes to build coalitions at national level for the bigger fight in 2019 by adopting this approach and highlighting its commitment towards Gandhian philosophy. Congress President Rahul Gandhi reiterated his resolve to free India from Modi rule asking his party workers to launch a crusade for “second freedom from saffron politics.”

As expected the CWC adopted a resolution asking party workers to launch a new or rather second freedom movement to oust the BJP from the power since it was tampering with the basic framework. Gandhi said, the Congress Party was the only alternative to the ruling dispensation a main theme for the proposed Mahagathbandhan of smaller parties opposed to the BJP for their own political and ideological differences.  

The ethos of Bharat
The resolution which was adopted with voice vote emphasised the point that the Congress truly embodies the ethos of Bharat that is fundamentally inclusive, liberal, secular and assimilation of India’s plurality and diversities. It is only the Congress that is deeply committed to the principles of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity, laid down in the Preamble of the Constitution. Rahul Gandhi was flanked by Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh. Manmohan Singh is being projected as major adviser to the party president Rahul Gandhi during his fight with the BJP in 2019.

The party also attacked the RSS for creating an atmosphere that led to Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. The party is also critical of RSS and the BJP for “brazenly appropriating Mahatma’s legacy for political ends”. Rahul Gandhi recalled how under Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership, the Quit India resolution was adopted by the CWC in 1942 leading to the independence for the country.

The resolution also explained why the second freedom struggle is the need of the hour. The party claimed that the Modi government had been using politics of threat, intimidation, polarisation, divisiveness, hate and vendetta, of crushing debate and dissent, imposing an artificial uniformity in a nation of extraordinary diversity.

As a normal CWC practice, Rahul also addressed a public rally in Wardha asking the youths to trust the Congress Party for progress. He reminded them that though they trusted Modi in 2014, nothing has materialised as no new jobs were created.   He said the parties and organisations which never believed in Gandhian philosophy are now using Mahatma for petty political gains without following his path. Rahul also talked on oil prices and Rafael deal, reiterating his charges that the Modi government had helped his industrialist friends.

The BJP has retaliated the allegations made against it in the CWC resolution. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said every act of corruption in India is linked to the Congress party which was now paddling lies and misleading people against the NDA government. The BJP has also dismissed allegation about irregularities committed by the Modi government in fixing prices of the Rafale fighter jets, saying the Congress is spreading lies as it is "frustrated" over the fact that there are no middlemen in the deal. Patra described the CWC as commission wali committee to take a dig at the Congress Party on the issue of corruption.

Rahul’s blistering attack on the Modi government and the RSS came after repeated jibes from the BJP which has been saying that the Congress and the Pakistan both wanted to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the office. The party wants to make the coming fight between Gandhi and Godse and not between Rahul and Modi. 

This was second CWC meeting under Rahul Gandhi as party president. He has revamped the CWC with a mix of old as well as young leaders to make the party battle ready. He has yet to revamp some of the state units of the party in view of factional feuds affecting party’s chances.

During the debate in the CWC and discussion which were carried out off stage, it was concluded that the party has to fight on two fronts. One is against the BJP led government and its exposure on many fronts, especially price rise and second most important aspect of pre-poll alliance of like-minded parties. Those handling the party’s day-to-day affairs know that unless there is unity among the anti-BJP parties, it will not be easy to defeat Modi led BJP. Despite its many lacunas, the ‘Mankibat’ programme by Modi has helped him to directly interact with large population which is not at all ideologically aligned.

The regional parties which can be part of the Mahagathbandhan have their own peculiar problems making it difficult to keep them intact and under one umbrella. The stunning defeat which the Congress suffered in 2014 have given hope to many regional straps that in case there is a hung Parliament, they also have a chance to lead the country like H D Deve Gowda. Those aspiring to become prime minister have been pleading that there can not be any predetermined candidate for the top post before going to polls. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been taking lead in organising the opposition parties against the BJP, including the Congress Party, has been saying that let there be election and on the basis of the number of candidates getting elected the leadership issue could be resolved. Sharad Pawar-led NCP has already said that the elected representatives should decide their leader in case there is hung parliament.

Distribution of tickets
The question is not merely related with the issue of the leadership. More than the leadership, it is going to be the distribution of tickets and every party is interested in contesting a greater number of seats that there is chance to expand their own base. The question before those working for a larger opposition cooperation is how to achieve this and continue with a grand alliance against the BJP. Situation differs per state as despite national issues on fore in Lok Sabha elections, political equations on ground level are different and require different treatment.

Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati has already given a jolt to the proposed grand alliance by announcing her decision to contest large number of seats in MP and aligning with Ajit Jogi, who is fighting against the Congress Party in Chhattisgarh. She blamed senior Congress leader in MP for opposing her demand in MP. Digvijay Singh denied he had any hand in her decision to go solo in MP.  In UP, Mayawati as well as SP leader Akhilesh Yadav may like to join hands with the Congress, but they may not be in a position to offer adequate number of seats creating a piquant situation for the party.

The Congress hopes that ideological overdose may work to keep this loose network of regional parties to keep them united or else the proposed Mahagathbandhan may break on the issue of power politics. The CWC resolution takes note of this issue while passing the resolution asking party workers to take on the Modi government on ideological issue.

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