Rahul Gandhi extends family grip on India's Congress party

19 December, 2017, 11:39 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • Newly-elected Congress president Rahul Gandhi greets his mother and predecessor Sonia Gandhi after her speech at the party headquarters in New Delhi

"It is very important that [the CPI-M] make their position clear at the national level...not standing against the BJP means supporting the BJP", Gandhi claimed, asking the communists rhetorically: "Do you accept that the biggest challenge to the country is from the fascist ideas spread by the BJP?"

The Janata Dal-United (JD-U), an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar, on Saturday described the new Congress President Rahul Gandhi as "Vanshvad Ka Naya Avatar" (new incarnation of dynasty politics) and said there is hardly anything new about it.

After a bitter campaign in Gujarat, the Congress president attempted to show his idealism when he called BJP members his brothers and sisters. They want an India free of Congress, they want to erase us but the Congress's inclusion and respect for all Indians extends even to the BJP. They crush voice, we allow the most vulnerable to sing.

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She told hundreds of Congress leaders gathered on the AICC lawns how she had retreated into a shell following the assassination of her mother-in-law, the late prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. They defame, we respect and defend.

"I was so nervous that my hands were shaking", the 71-year-old Sonia remembered the day she assumed charge of the party that was hit by factionalism, desertions and virtually on the brink of oblivion in 1998. "It is in this service that my idealism, your idealism, and our hope for politics always rests", he said.

Gandhi's elevation, which had been the anvil ever since Sonia Gandhi underwent a surgery in the USA in 2011, marks a generational shift in the party that is battling uncertainties both within and without, mainly in the form of onslaughts of its bitter rival, BJP. Politics belongs to the people, it is their greatest weapon in dismantling the structures that oppress, silence and disempower them. Justifying this need to bring changes within the party as a decision based on the consensus of the members, he said, "it is the desire within the Congress party to transform, evolve and change itself, and I would try and help to enable that". "That's not to say that people who are experienced or older should not have space".

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