Sonia tells partymen to end factional feuds
PTI NEW DELHI ASKINGpartymen to draw lessons from recent polls, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday said that leaders must shed factional behaviour and fight as one disciplined team as the party braces to face a series of state elections in near future.
“We must all shed all manner of factional behaviour, and fight as one disciplined team at all levels. That will be the single- most important factor to decide whether we win or lose.
“People look to us — but we need to show them our commitment and our unity if we are to convert this sentiment into electoral victories,” Gandhi said addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party in New Delhi, which was also attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Commenting on the poll results in the five states including UP, where the party could not perform well, Gandhi said, “While we can take satisfaction in the fact that we returned to power in Manipur for the third time and formed the government in Uttarakhand, the results in Punjab and Goa are very disappointing.
“In UP, even though we did not perform as well as we had hoped to, we increased our vote share quite considerably and were seen as a serious player for the first time in 22 years. Of course there is much work to be done there as in other states.” The CPP meeting has come a few days after a high-power committee of the party led AK Antony that reviewed the party’s performance in the five states, submitted its report to Gandhi. She said with a series of state elections approaching in the coming months, the party men “must draw upon lessons of the previous polls.” Gandhi also asked partymen to project the works of the party led government at the Centre and “expose the hollow claims of opposition-rule state governments”, adding that “mis-governance and corruption have been widespread in some of these states as revealed by CAG and Lokayukta reports”. In the backdrop of the stand off between the states and the Centre over NCTC, Gandhi said, “Trust and cooperation must be the anchor Centre-state relations“.
She noted that there has been a lot of discussion in recent months on Centre-state relations. “I would like to reiterate here we are fully committed to strengthening federalism, which is a key tenet of our party’s and UPA’s agenda.
What better evidence of this can there be than the unprecedented transfers of financial assistance from the Centre to the states these past eight years,” Gandhi said.
She said that there are Centre-state issues of major national importance — such as fighting terrorism or dealing with left-wing extremism — where the “Centre cannot shirk its responsibilty“.
Referring to the bills on food security and land acquisition, which are yet to see the light of the day, Gandhi said, “On our part, we must do all we can to ensure that the legislative process is not unduly delayed.” While food security is the pet project of Sonia Gandhi led- National Advisory Council, Rahul Gandhi has been leading from the front for a new land bill. The Congress president noted, “We are awaiting the standing committee reports on a number of important legislations including those on food security and land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation.” Accusing the opposition of “double speak”, she urged partymen to “expose” it “obstructive behaviour” in parliamentary proceedings. She, at the same time, chose to flag that “whatever motives may guide the opposition, we have but one singular duty and that is to the people of India.” Lauding the UPA government’s achievements, she said, “It seems to have become almost fashionable these days to criticise the government. We must speak forcefully and with confidence on what we have achieved and there is much we have to show despite difficult economic times.
She said that the recent Budget renews the priority of the party and the government for faster and inclusive growth.
Noting that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has already responded to the debate on the Budget, she said, “Despite the tough fiscal situation, the Budget has increased allocations for key social programmes“.
Gandhi also called for a sharper focus on improving the effectiveness of public expenditures, saying, “We must not just remain content with increases in outlays.” She said that the Aadhar programme now has the potential to offer a much better way to deliver pensions, scholarships, subsidies and MGNREGA wages directly to beneficiaries and eliminate inefficiencies, waste and corruption.
Gandhi said that the bill to ensure transparency in public procurement will be introduced over the next few day.