The Congress on Saturday vowed to go "all out" to identify, mobilize and align like-minded secular forces as well as regional outfits that agree with its ideology ahead of the 2024 parliamentary elections, even as it cautioned that the emergence of any third force will provide an advantage to the BJP-led NDA. Addressing the 85th plenary session of the Congress, party president Mallikarjun Kharge said that in the prevailing difficult circumstances, the Congress is the only party which can provide a capable and decisive leadership to the country.
In his concluding remarks before putting the political resolution to vote, former Union minister M Veerappa Moily said, "We have given a road map for a Congress-led government to come back in 2024. We shall take the initiative, unite all secular and socialist forces to come along with the Congress to re-establish the Congress-led government in the country." Moily was the chairman of the sub-group on political affairs for the plenary. The resolution as well as the remarks of Kharge and Moily came as Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar urged the Congress to make a quick decision on the opposition unity for the 2024 polls and some regional outfits such as the Bharat Rashtra Samithi talked of a third front.
The political resolution passed at the party plenary said the unity of secular and socialist forces will be the hallmark of the future of the Congress party. "The Congress should go all out to identify, mobilize and align like-minded secular forces," the resolution read. "We should include secular regional forces who agree with our ideology. There is an urgent need for a united opposition to take on the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) on common ideological grounds. The emergence of any third force will provide an advantage to the BJP/NDA," it said. The resolution asserted that Congress will prepare a vision document for 2024, following the largest-ever mass contact program, which will encompass issues of unemployment, eradication of poverty, inflation, women empowerment, job creation, and national security.
"Especially, Congress must reverse the current regressive path of growth without improving the lives of the poorest. Our growth mantra must have a human touch, creating livelihoods and employment opportunities," the resolution said. It said the Congress will infuse new blood in leadership roles without creating new fault lines and cementing its ideological moorings."Congress will create a clear-cut role model and will catapult the party back to power both in states and at the Centre," it added. In his remarks at the plenary, Kharge said that from 2004-2014, the Congress' alliance with like-minded parties served the people of the country effectively and the party once again looks forward to forging a viable alternative by aligning with like-minded parties to defeat the "anti-people and undemocratic" BJP government.
"We are ready to strive for the welfare of the people of our country and (will make) whatever sacrifices that are required,” Kharge said. The Congress' goal for upcoming state elections and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections is clear, he added. In his remarks, Moily said every Congress person should be a satyagrahi to fight against the "evils, devils and the crime committed by them”.The political resolution was deliberated on the second day of the party's three-day plenary session here and passed with delegates present raising their hands in its favor. The resolution was prepared by the political affairs sub-group headed by Moily. Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan was its convenor.
In the political resolution, Congress also promised that it will pass a new law to prevent and punish hate crimes. In its resolution, the party said more than 14 recognized political parties, several eminent activists, and computer scientists have raised concerns on the efficacy of EVMs to the Election Commission, but have not received any response so far. "When voters lose faith in the integrity of the electoral process, especially EVMs, our democracy hollows from within,” it said. Congress promised to restore the faith of every voter in the integrity of the electoral process.
"The Congress will build the widest possible consensus with all like-minded political parties to take up the issue with ECI, and if they do not respond, then go to court,” the resolution said. The resolution also talked about the "threat to the judiciary". "The judiciary is constantly threatened by direct and indirect measures which create apprehensions in their mind. Unfortunately, the law minister himself is leading the blatant attack on the judiciary. Congress promises that the independence and integrity of the judiciary will be maintained and protected at all costs," the resolution said. It also alleged that free discussions and debate in Parliament and legislative assemblies have been curtailed.
"Expunging the truth and suppressing the voices of the Opposition is becoming the order of the day. This is a blatant subversion of Article 105 of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech as a right for members of Parliament," the resolution read. The declining duration and quality of debate in Parliament shows how the BJP is undermining parliamentary democracy, it said. The resolution said the Congress acknowledges that over the last eight and a half years, the principle of federalism has been eroded to the detriment of the states.
"The appointments of Governors, their decisions and roles have turned the office of Governor into a mockery. Governors enjoy great protection for their actions in the name of their constitutional positions. The Congress demands that Governors who misuse their positions must be held publicly accountable for their actions,” the resolution said. The people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have always stood by the country and its sovereignty, the party noted, adding that the Congress reaffirms that the whole of Jammu and Kashmir is part of India."Owing to the drastic steps taken in August 2019, the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir has been bifurcated summarily. During the last leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, people of all three regions expressed their deep disappointment and disillusionment with the state of affairs.
"Congress will strive to restore complete statehood for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and bring Ladakh and its people under the protection of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India,” the party resolution read. The Congress also promised that if it comes to power it would pass an anti-discrimination law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, gender, or language in the supply of goods and services that are made available to the public in general such as housing, hostels, hotels, clubs, etc.