Congress president Sonia Gandhi told party workers on Saturday that “no failure is permanent” and asked them to stick to principles after the crushing defeat in the recently held assembly polls.
The Congress’s electoral defeat in four states led to calls for an urgent introspection, with senior leader Digvijaya Singh suggesting a “surgery” was the need of the hour. The party, which has lost six state elections since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, however, picked up a consolation prize of sorts in Puducherry by defeating the regional All India NR Congress (AINRC).
“A success achieved by discarding basic principles does not stay for long. If one sticks to principles, no failure is permanent,” Sonia said, in an apparent dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which ousted the Congress government in Assam. The Congress’s scandal-tainted coalition government lost to the Left in Kerala.
Sonia was addressing party workers at a programme to commemorate the 25th death anniversary of her husband and former prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi.
Stressing the need for social harmony, Sonia said: “We have to compensate for each drop of Rajiv’s blood on Indian soil by promoting and strengthening social harmony.”
“We will have to follow his values of simplicity, modernity, harmony and sensitivity. That will be our true homage to him. Only then we will be able to say that Rajiv is in us.”
Sonia’s Congress party had in the past blamed the ruling BJP for alleged political and religious intolerance in the country.
Sonia said Rajiv Gandhi ensured the participation of youngsters and the deprived sections in the country’s development process.
“India is walking with its head held high in the world due to the steps taken by him,” she said, praising the late Congress leader for his contributions in the devolution of powers to panchayats and bringing in a revolution in telecom and communication.
Sonia said the former PM started the process of change that led to the gains that are visible in society, economy and politics, “which we talk about loudly today”.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who was not keeping well for some days, and former prime minister Manmohan Singh did not attend the event organised by the Youth Congress.
Rahul, however, tweeted : “No matter how full of struggle and hardships the path ahead, the values that we hold are dear. The values of truth, freedom, equality and justice, are worth fighting for.”
The party is expected to call its Working Committee (CWC) meeting soon to review its electoral performance. There is pressure on Sonia and Rahul to revamp the party organisation.
(with agency inputs)