Sonia Gandhi at India Today Conclave 2018: Won't let BJP come back to power in 2019
Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi launched an all out attack on the Narendra Modi government at India Today Conclave 2018 today in Mumbai. She said that the Modi government has failed to fulfill the promises made during the election campaign in the run up to 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Days ahead of her meeting with several Opposition leaders, Sonia Gandhi said that it was a difficult task for many Opposition parties to come together at the national level as these are rivals on the ground in states but "if we think about the larger picture and we care for the country, we will have to come together."
Sonia Gandhi sounded confident about Congress or Congress-led coalition's return to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. "We are going to come back. We are not going to let them come back to power," Sonia Gandhi said.
The Congress leader also pointed to resistance from her own party with regard to alliances that may lead to a bigger coalition to challenge the BJP-led NDA. "It is a difficult task for all the parties including ours to get together at the national level on issues. At the ground level we are opponents."
"There is opposition even within our party. It is a difficult task," she added.
DOES RAHUL LISTEN TO SONIA?
Asked about whether she offers advice to Rahul Gandhi after he became president of the Congress, Sonia Gandhi said, "He knows what his responsibilities are. And, I am there for any advice."
But does Rahul Gandhi listen to her? "Wellas parent we always try to control them (children) but it is a terrible thing to doI volunteer some advice which I also offer when asked for."
Commenting on Rahul Gandhi's style of functioning, Sonia said, "Every person has his/her particular style of workingThere are no such differences with him. After all, the Congress has a certain policy that we all follow."
"What Rahul has always been keen on is to revitalize the party, to have younger and new people. But that does not mean to sideline older people but to have a balance," she said.
WHAT ELSE SONIA GANDHI SAID
In her keynote address, Sonia Gandhi said society everywhere is being rapidly and profoundly changing and it is true for our country as well. Out institutions are still evolving. Governance here in decades has been in continuity. But of late, we are being presented as regressive society. This fatally flawed view of how we secure our future is dangerous.
Our country, society and freedoms are under systematic attack Was India a really giant black hole before May 26, 2014?...What has been happening since 2014 both in substance and style is dangerous
Fear and intimidation is the order of the dayIndia belongs to all of us. Let us protect it with all our might.
Responding to a query on a possible coalition before 2019 elections, she said, "I am the chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) and I do meet some colleagues. We try to hold regular meetings with like minded parties to see if something can work outwe are holding dinner with all these leaders."
On Congress' diminishing presence across the country in state after state, Sonia Gandhi said, "We were in government for two terms and definitely there was certain amount of anti-incumbency(But) we were out-marketed in 2014. We could not really compete with the kind of (election campaign) that they went under Modi."
Was corruption the main issue in 2014? She said, "It was an issue but it was highly exaggerated. For instance 2G the previous CAG came out with some humongous amount of money but there was a problem there Now I think every one realises that it was not just highly exaggerated How come a person who was in-charge was given a cushy job just after retirement?"
Comparing PM Modi with former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Sonia Gandhi said, "The present situation is such that there is no accommodative approach. Speaking in Parliament is our right Vajpayee had great respect for parliamentary procedure."
Sonia Gandhi drew a parallel between Vajpayee government's slogan of Shining India with BJP's campaign slogan of Achchhe Din. She said, "Main issue with the BJP (going into 2019 polls) is that they made huge, fantastic promises but what has been implementedThey painted such a picture jobs 15 lakh rupees There is disappointmentI am confident that the BJP's Achchee Din will turn into Shining India that brought us victory."