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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

In poll rout shadow, Congress brass to huddle for 2024 prep as Sonia Gandhi gives reality check

In a sombre mood after the party’s debilitating defeat in the recent Assembly polls in three key Hindi heartland states – worsened by the unprecedented mass suspension of its MPs and that of the Opposition from Parliament – the Congress’s top leadership would meet Thursday to assess the party’s preparedness for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and chalk out its roadmap on campaign and alliances.

On the eve of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, Sonia Gandhi delivered a sobering assessment. Addressing a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) Wednesday, perhaps the last before the 2024 polls, she said that “to say that the assembly election results in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have been very disappointing for our party is an understatement”, admitting that the party has been facing enormous challenges.

Sonia said Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has held one round of reviews to understand the reasons for the party’s poor performance and draw the “needed lessons”. “We are facing enormous challenges, yet I am confident that our fortitude and resilience will see us through. Our ideology and our values are our guiding light at this difficult time. We must never forget that our leaders fought against insurmountable odds, with great courage and fortitude, to give us our freedom,” she said.

Despite the party’s aggression displayed in Parliament, the morale of its leaders has remained low after the poll defeats, which they say was “unexpected”. The meeting of the INDIA bloc too did not boost their morale. Many of the allies took potshots at the Congress for not being accommodative enough in the state polls. The unsaid message by some of the regional parties to the Congress was that its expectations regarding seat sharing in states where it is not a dominant force should be realistic.

Kharge and Rahul Gandhi have held a series of meetings with the leaderships of several states in the last one month to assess the local level situation. On Wednesday, it was the turn of West Bengal and Odisha.

On the CWC table would be also the MP’s suspension among other issues. As is the practice, there could be a CWC resolution slamming the government on every front.

Sonia was scathing in her speech. “Democracy has been strangulated by this government. Never before have so many Opposition Members of Parliament been suspended from the House, and that too, simply for raising a perfectly reasonable and legitimate demand. All that the Opposition Members of Parliament asked for was a statement to be made by the Home Minister in the Lok Sabha addressing the extraordinary events of December 13. There are no words to describe the arrogance with which this request was treated,” she said.

“What happened on December 13 is inexcusable and cannot be justified. It took four days for the Prime Minister to address the nation and express his views on the incident, and he did so outside of the Parliament. By doing so, he clearly indicated his disdain for the dignity of the House and his disregard for the people of our country. I leave it to you to imagine how the BJP would have responded had they been in Opposition today,” she said.

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