Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday expressed concern over the “grim” economic situation in the country and accused the BJP government of misusing its mandate in the “most dangerous” fashion.

Sources said Sonia, while addressing Congress leaders at a meeting at the party headquarters in Delhi, asserted that the BJP government was testing the resolve and resilience of the Congress, which must now embark on an agitational agenda to reach out to the masses in exposing the BJP.

She noted that democracy was at peril under the Narendra Modi government and alleged that it was misusing and abusing its mandate in the “most dangerous” fashion, the sources said. Sonia Gandhi’s remarks came while chairing a meeting of top party leaders from across the country to finalise plans for Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations.

The meeting was attended by former prime minister Manmohan Singh, AICC general secretaries and in-charges of various states, state government chiefs and Congress’ Legislative Party leaders, among others. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi was not present in the meeting.

“The Congress party must have an agitational agenda. Our resolve on resilience is being tested now,” Sonia was quoted as saying by the sources. Sonia Gandhi also expressed concern over the economic situation prevailing in the country, saying losses are mounting and the general confidence of people is shaken.

All that the government is indulging in is “unprecedented vendetta politics” to divert attention from the mounting losses on the economic front, she said. Sonia, the sources said, accused the government of appropriating the legacy of freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and B.R. Ambedkar. The BJP is “misrepresenting” their true messages to further its “nefarious agenda”, she said.

At the meeting, Manmohan Singh talked about the poor state of the economy. “We are in the midst of dangerously protracted slowdown and the economy was going from bad to worse,” he was quoted as saying by the sources. Manmohan Singh said the government is not realising this and the worst could happen in the employment sector.

While Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Puducherry CM V. Narayanasamy were present at the meeting, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Bhagel did not attend.

Kamal Nath is battling infighting in the Madhya Pradesh Congress. Party general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia was, however, present at the meeting. Among other leaders present were Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, A.K. Antony, K.C. Venugopal, Mallilkarjun Kharge and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.


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