Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday tore into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll promises as “nothing more than hawa baazi (empty talk)”, saying the NDA government had failed to match its words with deeds.
She told a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting that the government’s U-turn on the land bill was evidence that it has been out of touch with ground realities.
“It has become painfully clear that most of the pledges made by the Prime Minister during his election campaigns are nothing more than hawa baazi,” she said while lauding Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for forcing the Modi government to withdraw its “anti-farmer” amendments to the land acquisition law enacted by the UPA in 2013.
Apart from reviewing the country’s political situation, the CWC meeting was primarily called to postpone party elections, which effectively extended by a year the tenure of 68-year-old Gandhi who was elected Congress president in 2010 for a five-year period.
The polls were delayed because Rahul Gandhi has sought to hold internal elections across all rungs.
Congress sources explained that the extension of Sonia’s term was a technical requirement and has no bearing on the timing of 45-year-old Rahul’s elevation to the party top post.
Senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad dismissed suggestions that the extension would lead to creation of dual power centres in the party.
“We are lucky to have a combination of mature and youthful leadership. This is good for the country and the party as well, an ideal situation and put us in a very comfortable position,” Azad said.
The Congress chief complimented farmers, all like-minded parties and civil society members for joining hands with the party in the fight against the “draconian” land ordinance.
“Thanks to our party’s sustained campaign, the government has been compelled to withdraw its anti-farmer amendments. The credit for this goes to every worker of the Congress, which under Rahul's active guidance, carried out a sustained agitation. It goes without saying that lakhs of farmers across the country tirelessly demonstrated against this ordinance,” she said.
The party will hold a rally at Panipat in Haryana on September 20 to celebrate the farmers’ victory.
“The Modi government has failed abysmally to match words with deeds, media events with actual accomplishments, headlines with substance … Writers and progressive thinkers are being physically eliminated. Media is being threatened with notices and other repressive measures,” she said.
Gandhi alleged that the Modi government was controlled and directed by the RSS “whose agenda is well-known to all of us”.
She also criticised the Prime Minister for his Pakistan policy and threatened to launch campaigns against attempts “to systematically undermine” the UPA’s flagship initiatives such as MGNREGA, RTI and welfare projects for women, children and the poor.
“Instead of a coherent policy on Pakistan, this government can’t seem to make up its mind on what it should do. From aggressively mocking Manmohan Singh and his policy during the election campaign, the Prime Minister has been reduced to unedifying flip-flops casting doubts on what he really stands for,” Gandhi said.
A political resolution adopted at the meeting asked the Centre to take a decisive stand on Pakistan, establish peace on borders, and ensure perpetrators of cross-border terrorism were brought to justice.