Sonia to workers: Set aside your ego

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, in her inaugural address at the party chintan shivir here on Friday, said, “Our citizens are rightly fed up with the levels of corruption that they see in public life at high levels but equally with the corruption they have to deal with in their daily lives. This is a phenomenon, a churning that we must understand and continue to respond to. Our people are expecting much more from their political partners.”
While pointing out that infighting has been the main hurdle to the revival of the Congress, she said unity will come not from pious declarations of intent. “It has to come from within. Unity is the cry of each and every worker of our great organisation and it is our sacred duty to respond to it. In states where we are out of power especially, we should be coming together, setting aside personal ambition and egos and working cohesively so that the party triumphs.”
She observed that “the last nine years have been a period of tremendous economic growth, social change and technological innovation. New aspirants are manifesting themselves, calling for new responses”.
Without naming the current tension between India and Pakistan, she said better and closer relations with India’s immediate neighbours will not only make for regional peace, they will also have a positive impact on some of India’s own border states. “However, let us be clear. Our dialogue must be based on accepted principles of civilised behaviour. We will never compromise on our vigil and preparedness to deal with terrorism and threats on our border,” she said.
She also spoke of the “Congress way of thinking and the Congress way of doing things” while drawing attention to how the party has the inner strength to overcome crisis situations. Reiterating that the Congress is the only pan-Indian party, she said, “We appeal to all sections of society. We articulate and champion the concerns of all but especially of the weaker sections — dalits, minorities and women. We have always given the highest priority to the interests and concerns of farmers and agriculture.”
But she was unhappy about the state party units’ failure to translate “revolutionary programmes and historic legislation” under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s leadership into political support.
Atrocities on women, both in urban and rural India, are a blot on India’s collective conscience and a matter of great shame, she said, adding that gender issues are fundamental and should be of concern to all.

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