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Congress plenary meet begins

Two-day Congress plenary begins in Burari. Congress president Sonia Gandhi addresses delegates. Congress will go on the offensive today by sharpening its attack on the BJP and RSS for their alleged links with terror, corruption and communalism. Graphics: Mega meet in Burari

india Updated: Dec 19, 2010 11:46 IST

Battling a series of scandals, the Congress will go on the offensive at its two-day plenary starting Sunday by sharpening its attack on the BJP and RSS for their alleged links with terror, corruption and communalism.

The political resolution to be adopted would also take note of general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s proposition that the Babri Masjid demolition should be described not as “an act of mischievous vandalism’’ but as a “criminal act” since it was preplanned.

The Congress will also target the main Opposition party for blocking Parliament and weakening democracy. The tone will be set by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in her opening address to the conclave of over 10,000 delegates at Burari, and later by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul.

The no-holds-barred attack would come in the backdrop of the controversy over the leaked US government cable that quotes Rahul on threats from Hindu radical groups and senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s call for a ‘deeper’ probe into the murder of RSS activist Sunil Joshi linked to the 2007 Ajmer blast. Joshi is believed to have been killed by his own men and the Congress alleges it is because he “knew too much” about the plans of Hindu extremists.

Perhaps wary of its implications on the Hindu and Muslim communities, the Congress will ensure there is no religious slant when it renews its pledge to fight terror. The BJP-RSS has lashed out at Rahul for equating Hindutva with terror though the Amethi MP had, without denying the Wikileaks report, clarified that terrorism of all types is a threat to India.

The resolution will talk about fighting right-wing terror in an attempt to delink Hindutva from the BJP-RSS. The party is also likely to ask the government to thoroughly probe the RSS-terror links.

To counter the Opposition onslaught over the 2G spectrum and Commonwealth Games scams, the Congress will contrast its action against corruption with BJP’ inaction, particularly in Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

At the behest of its leaders from poll-bound West Bengal and Kerala, it will also refer to the corruption of the Left.
“The Left is as bad and venomous as the BJP,” these leaders told the meeting. The party will expand the ambit to include graft by “other parties” as well.

During the debate, Sonia strongly objected to the use of the term “zero tolerance” on corruption. “The Americans use it for everything. Why should we copy them?” she snubbed a member.

As the Congress struggles to strengthen its base and appeal in states like UP and Bihar, the overriding theme of the conclave is to project the party as the only “pan Indian” party that can also cater to regional aspirations.