New Delhi: Chairing a meeting of senior party leaders, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said that it's not enough to be aggressive on social media as "democracy was at perils and mandate was being misued".
"Democracy is at peril today. Mandate is being misused and abused in most dangerous fashion. Appropriation of freedom fighters and leaders like Gandhi, Patel, Ambedkar with the sole and tragic aim of misinterpreting their true messages to further their nefarious agenda. The Congress party must have agitational agenda, and merely being active on social media is not enough," Gandhi said addressing the meeting.
The leaders also discussed the current slowdown in economy. "The economic situation is very grim. Losses are mounting. General confidence has been shaken, and all that the government doing is indulging in unprecedented vendetta politics to divert attention from mounting losses," she said.
With mega event for 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and 'RSS-like Preraks' on agenda, Gandhi is chaired a meeting of senior party leaders, the 'first big meeting' by the Congress interim president after taking charge.
According to sources, the meeting agenda will revolve around Gandhi Jayanti preparations, membership drive and party worker training. Among those on the dais are former PM Manmohan Singh and senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, however, gave the meeting a miss, but senior MP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia is in attendance. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other general secretaries and state Congress chiefs are also likely to be present at the crucial meet that will also discuss ongoing economic slowdown.
The preparations for Gandhi Jayanti are being seen as Congress's strategy to counter the Narendra Modi government’s plans. The grand old party workers will carry out padyatras across the country, wearing Gandhi topis and holding seminars.
"BJP wants to claim Gandhi's legacy and for that, it has started with the ban single use plastic plan — this apart from Swachh Bharat. Comgress doesn't want BJP to walk away with the claim on legacy as the party has always projected itself as the true inheritor of Gandhian philosophy, and the only party which has been the pioneer of freedom struggle," an expert said.
A source added that Rahul Gandhi, in fact, was the first to point out that RSS, which is considered to be the power behind BJP, was behind the assassination of the Mahatma — an allegation for which he is facing defamation cases.
A report by news agency ANI stated that the party will appoint 'Preraks' or 'motivators' at the district level across the country to boost its mass contact programme.
Congress state units have been asked to identify leaders from the party who will be given training for several days. These Preraks will work on the party agenda and look after party work similarly like Pracharaks in the RSS, the report stated.
This is a first of its kind of appointment within the Congress cadre. The party now wants to emphasise on the training program of the party cadre to counter government agenda and also to take on the policy of the party to the grass-root level following a series of electoral setbacks.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, on the other hand, has countered Congress by saying that Gandhiji wanted the grand old party to be dissolved after freedom. And so Congress should have no relevance now. Many within BJP say that when leaders talk about "Congress-mukt Bharat" this is what is being followed.
But Sonia Gandhi doesn't want that "mukti" (freedom) to be allowed. Sources say she has told her party that the fight to reclaim ground has to begin with Gandhi Jayanti — a kind of Dandi March, which challenged British economic backbone is also being mulled by Congress. But can this be done in a time when Congress is at its weakest and most divided. Can Sonia sell this dream? The challenge in a way begins on 2 October.