Congress president Sonia Gandhi told a Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting on Wednesday that the Congress was often its own worst enemy. She urged the party workers to ensure greater discipline and cohesion for fighting the coming Lok Sabha elections successfully.
Sonia’s remark hinted at the fierce infighting in the Madhya Pradesh unit of the party, which took its toll in the assembly polls. Recuperating from a heart operation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not attend the meeting.
“All of us will gain if our party comes back to power. But we must not be complacent where it appears that we are well placed. We cannot take anything for granted,” she said, unveiling the party’s election strategy at the last CPP meeting during the 14th Lok Sabha, which would come to an end on Thursday.
Sonia said the Congress would seek a renewed mandate on the strength of fulfilling the promises it made in 2004 and its commitment to the aam admi (the common man).
The Congress president also identified two more challenges — the Bharatiya Janata Party’s alleged move to divide society and, though she did not expressly state it, the regional parties’ efforts to keep the focus on local issues.
Without directly attacking the regional parties that had eaten into the Congress’s political space in several states, Sonia said, “We will go to the people, convincing them that what India needs most today is a national party, which is equally sensitive to regional and local sentiments.”
She noted, “There will, of course, be state-level issues and local-level concerns. But our campaign strategy must emphasise that this poll is for electing a government that has an all-India perspective and (keeps in mind) the concerns of the entire country.”
To the party workers in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where the Congress has not been able to find its feet, she said, “A defeatist attitude does not help’’, noting how the Congress has proved its sceptics wrong by winning in 2004 and completing the five-year term.
She thanked the coalition partners and the supporting parties, saying that the Congress had been mindful of the rules of the game when it came to public positions and pronouncements.
She, however, admitted that although there were difficult moments in running a coalition government, the party’s determination to sustain it had seen it through.