See More on Facebook

Politics

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

Politics

Pakistan says Asia Bibi’s rights will be respected

Imran Khan on Tuesday reaffirmed his government’s resolve to respect the Supreme Court’s judgement in the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman recently freed from prison after her blasphemy conviction was overturned. “As citizens of Pakistan, Asia Bibi and her family are entitled to all rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan,” the premier told European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who had telephoned Khan. According to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Tajani thanked Khan for ensuring the safety and security of Bibi and her family. Assuring the prime minister of the EU Parliament’s cooperation with the Pakistani government, Tajani said that a debate on Bibi scheduled to be held in the EU Parliament had been postponed. Bibi has been blocked from leaving Pakistan after the overturning of her conviction prompted a wave of


By Dawn
November 14, 2018

Politics

Malaysia Cabinet agrees to scrap death penalty

If approved by lawmakers, capital punishment will be replaced with minimum 30 years in jail. Malaysia’s de facto Law Minister Liew Vui Keong told Parliament yesterday that the Cabinet has agreed to scrap the death penalty, including for murder, but Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail appeared to hedge over the matter by telling reporters that the government would review abolishing it for murder. “We are reviewing it. The death penalty is one of those that we will review,” she said when asked if the government would keep the death penalty for child murders. But when The Straits Times contacted Datuk Liew again, he insisted that “all 32 death penalty offences found in eight of our laws” would be abolished.


By The Straits Times
November 14, 2018

Politics

President Xi emphasizes role of Hong Kong, Macau

Both Hong Kong and Macao were told to integrate with nation’s overall development. President Xi Jinping underlined on Monday the unique and irreplaceable role of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions for China’s reform and opening-up in the new era. He also called on the two regions to better integrate themselves with the nation’s overall development. Xi’s remarks came as he met with a delegation of about 210 representatives from the two SARs who were in Beijing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up. The position and role of Hong Kong and Macao will only be strengthened rather than weakened, Xi said. The two regions should continue to play a leading role and enable more capital, technology and talent to take part in the country’s high-quality development and in the new round of high-level opening-up, he said. People of the two regions should continu


By China Daily
November 13, 2018

Politics

Suu Kyi stripped of Amnesty honour

The Amnesty International has stripped Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour, the latest of several honours taken away from her since last year’s brutal military crackdown on the Rohingyas. This is the eighth honour that the former Nobel peace prizewinner has been stripped of over the past year, with Amnesty following the example of Canada, US Holocaust Museum, UK’s Edinburgh, Oxford, Glasgow and Newcastle and Canada’s Carleton Universities which also revoked Suu Kyi’s honorary degrees and awards. The long-celebrated Nobel Laureate was given Amnesty’s most prestigious honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2009 marking the 20th anniversary of her arrest and 20 years since it declared her a prisoner of conscience. The AI yesterday announced withdrawal of its highest honour fr


By Daily Star
November 13, 2018

Politics

Date set for Bangladesh elections

Bangladesh will hold a parliamentary election on December 23 despite the failure of political parties to resolve major contentious issues over the polls. The country’s chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda said there was a “congenial atmosphere” to hold the polls and promised it will be free and fair. “We hope we will be able to hold a free, fair and acceptable election,” Huda said in a televised address. A day before, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wrapped up week-long talks between the ruling Awami League-led 14-party combine and at least 80 parties under the banners of different alliances. During the dialogue, Jatiya Oikyafront, an alliance of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and several other opposition parties, demanded for a dissolution of parliament before the polls and the creation of a caretaker government. The ruling party, however, rejected it over const


By Asia News Network
November 9, 2018

Politics

Woman accused of blasphemy freed in Pakistan

Asia Bibi was initially found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to death. After her release from Multan’s women prison in the light of the Oct 31 Supreme Court verdict overturning her conviction and death sentence, Asia Bibi was brought to Islamabad on board a special aircraft on Wednesday night, reliable sources told Dawn Newspaper. The aircraft carrying Aasia Bibi, whose acquittal of blasphemy charge sparked countrywide protests by religious parties and groups, landed at the old Benazir Bhutto International Airport of Islamabad adjacent to Nur Khan Air Base. Soon after her landing, she was taken to an undisclosed place in Islamabad amid tight security. The authorities were keeping her movement and whereabouts secret for security reasons. Authorities concerned were also tight-lipped about her future plan and it was unclear if she would be kept in Islamabad or would be allowed to fly out of the


By Dawn
November 8, 2018