Term Babri demolition ‘criminal act’: Rahul

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Saturday suggested that the demolition of the Babri Masjid should be mentioned as a “criminal act” in the draft of the party’s political resolution before the two-day Congress plenary session beginning on Sunday.

Sources say Mr Gandhi’s suggestion was readily accepted by the party’s subjects committee meeting held here on Saturday at the Parliament Annexe to finalise the draft of four resolutions — political, economic, international and 125 years of the formation of the Congress. Senior Congress leader Arjun Singh pointed out that there was no mention that “Kashmir is an integral part of India” in the draft resolution, which was also accepted, they said.
They said that former minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, Mr C.K. Jaffer Sharief and Mr Digvijay Singh vociferously raised the issues of the absence of any reference to the Nonaligned Movement (NAM) and Palestine in the draft foreign policy resolution. Mr Aiyar is believed to have pointed out that India was one of the founding leaders of NAM and a staunch supporter of the cause of Palestine, and wondered how these two key issues could not find place in the resolution. He was supported by several others.
Mr K. Keshav Rao, AICC in-charge for West Bengal, suggested that “public-oriented” policies in Naxal-hit areas, as mentioned in the draft resolution, should be modified. And it should be “poor and tribal-oriented” instead of public-oriented, they said.
PCC chiefs and CLP leaders of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura said that the political resolution draft should also criticise the Left Front governments in these states on the corruption issue.
“The Left should not be left out... if we criticise the BJP for corruption then the Left Front governments should also be attacked,” they said.
Party leaders who attended the meetings were given the copies of the draft resolutions at around 11.30 am and they were asked to go through them within an hour. They were told that they should be brief and focused in their suggestions. The copies of the draft resolutions given to them were taken back before the meeting concluded.
A senior party leader commented that the drafts were prepared by the central leaders who are in the government. “The party is in power at the Centre but not in states. This is a gap we think should reflect in the resolutions.”
Asked what was the message of the party plenary being held against the backdrop of scams and scandals, the senior party leader pointed out: “Both the Congress and the BJP are on the defensive on this issue.”
Congress president Sonia Gandhi presided over the subjects committee meeting which was attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, senior leaders Pranab Mukherjee, A.K. Antony, Union ministers, party chief ministers, AICC general secretaries, in-charges of different states and the steering committee members.
The resolutions are expected to explain the Congress’ stand on terrorism, communalism and coalitions.
The party will re-launch attacks on the Sangh Parivar and its constituents — the BJP, VHP and the Bajrang Dal — for divisive politics. At the same time, it will attack the Left Front ahead of the Assembly elections in West Bengal and Kerala.
A section of the Congress is unhappy the way the party has been playing a secondary role in Tamil Nadu, knowing well that neither the DMK nor the AIADMK cannot form a government without its support. But the Dravidian parties have been keeping the Congress out of power in the state for over 40 years.
The plenary could also see a proposal for raising the tenure of the Congress president from the current three years to five years.
The resolution is unlikely to have any reference on the issue of small states, including Telangana, on which the Srikrishna Committee is expected to give its report by the month-end.
The political resolution will emphasise that terror has no colour or religion, party sources said. Communalism, especially right-wing radicalism, is expected to be the focal point of the draft political resolution.
The plenary, the third after Mrs Gandhi became party chief for the fourth time, will also stress probity in public life amid the tough time the party and government in the wake of scams which have hit the Congress and the UPA coalition.

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