As Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul made an appearance at the party headquarters soon after obtaining bail in the National Herald case, they were greeted with a prayer song from a yesteryear Hindi film known for its moving inspiration in times of crises.
“Teri hai zameen tera aasmaan tu bada meherbaan tu bakshish kar (you are the lord of the skies and the earth, you are the merciful, deliver us)” from the 1980 film The Burning Train played on a loudspeaker and supporters yelled, “Sonia, Rahul sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hain (take the struggle forward, we are with you)” as the Gandhis walked through the lawns of 24, Akbar Road.
“We are not going to move back an inch,” Rahul assured the roaring crowd, indicating the Congress plans to take this struggle against the Modi government’s “political vendetta and vindictiveness” to the streets in the coming days.
On the legal front, the party leaders and their lawyers will decide the future course of action in the next few days. The next date of hearing in the case has been fixed as February 20, barely a few days ahead of the crucial budget session of Parliament.
Insisting that the party respects the judicial process and will fight the case legally, senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Randeep Singh Surjewala made it clear that it is essentially a political battle that will now be fought in the states.
The party has identified issues such as price rise, political vendetta in targeting the top leadership, farmers’ distress, no action on Lalitgate, Vyapam and rice scams and the role of governors in Opposition-ruled states on which it can take on the NDA government.