May 21, 2018

Sonia Gandhi says government 'sabotaging' winter session of Parliament

21 November 2017, 12:39 | Lionel James

CWC meet today to clear decks for Rahul Gandhi's elevation as party chief

Congress Working Committee to meet on Monday to approve party’s presidential election schedule

With the Congress Working Committee announcing in New Delhi on Monday the timeline for its upcoming internal election, the issue of Congress president Rahul Gandhi's elevation to the top party post now remains a formality.

Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of delaying the Winter Session of Parliament on "flimsy grounds", Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday said the government in its "arrogance" has cast a dark shadow on the country's Parliamentary democracy.

"It's mistaken if the government thinks by locking temple of democracy; it'll escape constitutional accountability ahead of elections", Sonia Gandhi said during CWC meet which was held at her official residence. In the event of an election, the result will be out on December 19, a day after the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh poll results. Rumours are rife that Rahul is set to be the only candidate in fray and while his appointment as the party president is imminent, it is the dilemma of its timing that appears to have caught the Congress in a fix.

Sonia has been the president of the grand old party for a record 19 years since 1998, when she replaced Sitaram Kesri.

Unless there are last-minute challengers - considered highly unlikely - Mr Gandhi is likely to be declared party president on Dec 4, when nominations close.

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Gandhi attributed unemployment, rising inflation, falling exports, demonetisation and GST to the "tremendous suffering" of millions of Indians.

Once he becomes Congress chief, Mr. Gandhi faces the formidable challenge of reviving the party's sagging political fortunes. There's a series of assembly polls next year as well, and putting off the leadership succession would have only invited the charge of Rahul still being reluctant to shoulder the party's responsibilities fully. Her role will be defined once Rahulji is elected the Congress President.

At a press conference yesterday, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala noted that Mrs Gandhi, who successfully led the party to two consecutive general election wins, would continue to guide Congress even after the elections. Sources had informed that the Congress was not very keen on having an alliance with NCP after the latter "back-stabbed" the party during Ahmed Patel's Rajya Sabha election.

She said the government was sabotaging the session on "flimsy grounds". We can not conceive that her guidance, her able leadership will not be available.

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