See More on Facebook


India’s Congress party signals challenge for 2019 general elections

Positioning himself as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s principal challenger is newly appointed Congress party chief Rahul Gandhi.

Written by

Updated: March 19, 2018

India’s Congress party is positioning itself to challenge for the 2019 general elections at its 84th plenary session that ended in New Delhi on March 18.

In an aggressive speech at the three-day plenary, the party’s new chief Rahul Gandhi promised to throw out the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – which he said is corrupt and drunk on power – in the upcoming elections.

Positioning himself as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s principal challenger, Gandhi said the Congress will build a team of talented youngsters who will show “how to fight and win elections”. The party said that alleviating the plight of farmers and fighting unemployment will be its two main points of contention.

“In the next six-seven months, we need to have strict discipline. There will be some hurdles but let us come together and fight [for] these elections. In 2019, the Congress workers will show the country how the Congress party fights elections and wins elections,” Gandhi said at the plenary, the highest decision-making body of the party.

He promised to break the “walls” that exist between party workers and senior leadership and the between the youth and the political systems.

“Some of you (party members) may not like what I am going to say but I will have to say it. This organization (Congress) needs to change. How to change it I will tell you. The worker sitting in the last row has the energy to change the nation but there is a wall standing between them and our leaders. My first job is to break that wall,” he said.

The party passed a unanimous resolution to empower Gandhi to choose members of the new Congress Working Committee (CWC) instead of the long-standing tradition of electing members to the top body.

The new CWC, which is likely to have a lot of young faces, will be handpicked by Gandhi. Some of these young leaders spoke at the plenary session.

The plenary passed four resolutions on politics, economy, foreign policy and agriculture, employment and poverty alleviation. It also called for a “common workable programme” with like-minded parties in the 2019 polls, demanded a return to paper ballots and rejected the idea of simultaneous polls to the federal parliament and state assemblies.

Laying out his vision for India, Gandhi said the party needs to embrace change. “There are two visions globally accepted, US and Russian, in 10 years I want to see an Indian vision being accepted and talked about globally. We will compete with love and compassion, not with violence and anger,” he said.

He admitted that his party “did not stand up to the expectations of the country and the people felt let down by us.”

He launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “What does Modi actually mean? The name Modi symbolizes the collusion between India’s biggest crony capitalists and the prime minister of India.”

Gandhi’s mother, Sonia, who headed the Congress for a record tenure before she stepped down last year, accused the Narendra Modi government of using “all tricks in the trade” to wipe out the party.

“In the last four years, this arrogant and power-drunk government has left no stone unturned to destroy the Congress. They have used every trick in the trade, but Congress has neither succumbed before this arrogance of power nor will it succumb in future,” she said.

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

Lamat R Hasan
About the Author: Lamat is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here


Modi defends citizenship decision

PM Modi says it has nothing to do with Indian Muslims. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, that unity in diversity is integral to India while addressing ‘Aabhar Rally’ at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan today to kick start Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi Assembly Elections campaign slated for early next year, amid protests in Delhi and all over the country against the contentious Citizenship Act and the National Register of Citizenship(NRC). Modi raised slogan of ‘vividhta me ekta, Bharat ki visheshta’ (Unity in diversity is India’s speciality). PM Modi while giving his party and government’s view on CAA and NRC said, “Muslims being misled, I have always ensured that documents will never come in way of development schemes and their beneficiaries.” Citizenship law and NRC have nothing to do with Indian Muslims or with Indian citizens, he clarified. “We have never asked

By The Statesman
December 23, 2019


Rallies rage on in India over citizenship law

Thousands of students flood streets of Delhi; Assam state sees five protesters shot dead. Thousands of university students flooded the streets of India’s capital yesterday, while a southern state government led a march and demonstrators held a silent protest in the north-east, to protest against a new law giving citizenship to non-Muslims who entered India illegally to flee religious persecution in several neighbouring countries. The protests in New Delhi followed a night of violent clashes between the police and demonstrators at Jamia Millia Islamia University. People who student organisers said were not students set three buses on fire and the police stormed the university library, firing tear gas at students crouched under desks. Members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party said opposition parties were using th

By The Straits Times
December 17, 2019


Japan: Koizumi offers no concrete plan on coal

The new environment minister needs to offer better ways to tackle climate change.  During a ministerial meeting of the U.N. climate summit in Madrid on Wednesday, Shinjiro Koizumi, the Environment Minister did not express concrete steps for reducing coal-fired thermal power generation. Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi did not express concrete steps for reducing coal-fired thermal power generation, for which construction of new plants is currently underway in Japan, during a ministerial meeting of the U.N. climate summit in Madrid on Wednesday. “I am afraid I cannot share new development on our coal policy today,” Koizumi said at the ongoing 25th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate

By The Japan News
December 13, 2019


Power transition after Apec summit

Mahathir open to stepping down after APEC summit. Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the world’s oldest prime minister, has promised to hand over power to anointed successor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in spite of new sexual assault allegations against him. Dr Mahathir, 94, said he would not hand over before a summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) countries that Malaysia is to host in November 2020, but could be ready after that. “I made a promise to hand over and I will, accepting that I thought that a change immediately before the Apec summit would be disruptive. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m stepping down and I’m handing the baton to him (Anwar). If people don’t want him, that is their business, but I will do my part of the promise… irrespective of whatever allegation. I made my promise, I keep my promise, ” he said in an interview w

By The Star
December 11, 2019


Communist Party of China calls for efforts to deepen reform and expand opening-up

Political Bureau stresses importance of winning three critical battles in 2020. The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee called on Friday for solid efforts to deepen reform and expand opening-up, amid tensions in the external environment, to ensure that the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects will be attained next year. The general trend of China’s economy in maintaining stable and long-term positive operation remains unchanged, according to a statement released after the bureau’s meeting, presided over by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. China will keep its economic growth within a reasonable range in 2020, with more “forwarding-looking, targeted and effective” policies, the statement said. The nation will pursue a policy framework that allows macro policies to be stable, micro policies

By Esther Ng
December 9, 2019


Najib to take the stand today

The former premier is accused of malfeasance. Today is the day that Malaysians will see, for the first in the country’s history, a former prime minister take the stand to answer charges against him in a court of law. Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic), 66, will testify from the witness box as the first defence witness to rebut his seven charges of misappropriating RM42mil in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali. According to his co-counsel Harvinderjit Singh, Najib will be called as the first witness on the opening day of the defence’s proceedings. Najib will be first questioned by his defence during examination-in-chief before being cross-examined by the prosecution. On Nov 11, Justice Mohd Nazlan ordered Najib to enter his defence on three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), three charges of money laundering and on

By The Star
December 3, 2019