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Cong Meet Skirts Scams, Attacks RSS, BJP

New Delhi, Nov 2: Sweeping aside the raging controversies over scam in a Mumbai housing project and the Commonwealth Games, the Congress today  directed all its firepower against RSS accusing it of involved in terror

PTI [ Updated: November 02, 2010 19:52 IST ]
cong meet skirts scams attacks rss bjp
cong meet skirts scams attacks rss bjp

New Delhi, Nov 2: Sweeping aside the raging controversies over scam in a Mumbai housing project and the Commonwealth Games, the Congress today  directed all its firepower against RSS accusing it of involved in terror acts and the BJP on the Babri Masjid demolition issue.

At a day-long session of the AICC, which comes after the election of Sonia Gandhi as Congress President, leaders, including Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, avoided any mention of the two scams in their speeches.

In her inaugural speech, Gandhi said Congress and the governments led by her party will "forcefully" resist attempts by anyone to abuse religion for political gains.

Talking about the September 30 Allahabad High Court verdict on Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, she said it in "no way condones" the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6,1992.

The demolition was a "shameful, criminal act" and "all those responsible must be brought to justice," she said, in an apparent broadside against the BJP, whose leaders including L K Advani are arraigned in the CBI case on demolition.

Taking the attack a notch higher, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee piloted an AICC statement that said "recent revelations through detailed investigations have exposed the "true character" of RSS and its sister organisations.

"The investigations indicate the involvement of its members in terrorist activities."

Justifying the inclusion of references to the RSS, Mukherjee said, "RSS organisation is to be exposed. Their links with the terrorist activities which have been recently highlighted through the revelations are to be brought in."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hailed the role of Sonia Gandhi as the "longest serving" party President for the last 12 years and her efforts in bringing the party to power at the Centre for a second continuous term.

He expressed confidence that under her leadership the party would continue to be in power for a long time.

The Congress government in Maharashtra is under attack on the scam relating to Mumbai's Adarsh Housing Society in which the party are facing allegations of irregularities. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has already offered his resignation, a decision on which is pending with the party high command.

The BJP attacked the Congress for its critcism of the sangh parivar saying it was a "diversionary tactics". The BJP and other opposition parties demanded immediate  resignation of Chavan and  accountability of the Congress in such issues.

However, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh hit back saying a high-level Congress committee was going into the Maharashtra housing scam and the Prime Minister has constituted a probe into the games allegations.  Opposition should wait for the result of the probe, he said.

The day-long session of AICC saw over 1,000 delegates authorising her to nominate members to the Congress Working Committee, the highest policy-making body of the party.

There have been no elections to CWC since Gandhi took over the reins of the organisation 12 years ago. She has created a record by remaining at the helm for the longest tenure in the history of the organisation, which is now now celebrating its 125th year.

The AICC statement said investigations "indicate the involvement" of RSS members in terrorist activities.

"Communal and terrorist elements, whichever source they  may originate from, that aim at destroying our national fabric will be fought at any cost," it said.

Gandhi spoke on a number of other issues like Jammu and  Kashmir, terrorism, price rise, naxalism and women's reservation and party's preparations for the next round of Assembly elections.

She noted that a "new situation" had emerged in Jammu and Kashmir and appealed to all the dissatisfied sections to trust the government and give peace a chance so that the future of next generations could be built.

"I speak for all of us when I express my anguish at the loss of young lives in Kashmir. I share their grief. Their loss is national loss. The whole generation has seen nothing but violence and conflict," she said.

She said the priority should be on development of the state. "There has to be a meaningful political dialogue with all parties and all region," she said.

On terrorism, she said the "threat is for real and we will never relax our vigil against terrorism".

The Congress President said it was "crystal clear" as to who was behind the attacks on November 26, 2008 in Mumbai, apparently referring to Pakistan.

Touching upon the issue of naxalism, she said while firm  police action is necessary, there was a need for greater emphasis on socio-economic development.

On inflation, she said food prices have come down but there was a "need to bring these down further". She said states were as much responsible for this as the Centre.

In his speech, the Prime Minister asked Congressmen to work towards bringing the party closer to the 'aam aadmi' (common man) adding that the party in mind the interest of weaker sections of the society.

Addressing a day-long session of the All India Congress Committee, he also said that India is strong when the Congress is strong.

"If Congress is strong, India is strong," Singh said in his speech.

"Our politics is about bringing the society together and not to break it," the Prime Minister said and asked partymen to work towards bringing the Congress party closer to the 'aam aadmi'.

Singh hailed the role of Sonia Gandhi as the "longest serving" party President for the last 12 years and her efforts in bringing the party to power at the Centre for a second continuous term.

He expressed confidence that under her leadership the party would continue to be in power for a long time.

The Prime Minister also hoped that Gandhi's continued guidance would be available to the party which always worked for the weaker sections.

Rahul Gandhi, who took the floor on persistent demand from the gathered partymen,  said it was only Congress which could unite the "two Hindustans"-- one for the rich and the other for the poor.

The 40-year-old Congress general secretary, who sat in the back row on the dais at the AICC session here,  "This (his speech) was not part of the plan.

"You cornered me at the last minute," he said as Congress members cheered and clapped in Talkatora indoor stadium.

Referring to his intensive travels across the country and interactions with a cross-section of people, he said, "I have understood two things clearly.

"First is that it is only the poor people who can take the country forward.  And if we have to take the poor people forward, the Prime Minister's strategy for economic growth is a necessity.

"There are two Hindustans - one is growing very fast and the other is for the poor (which is in crisis).... We have to connect and unite the two.

Congress, he said, was the only party which could do this as all other parties were "either regional, or based on caste or religion".

"It is only the Congress - a national party  -- which can do it as it has its presence all over the country,"  Rahul said, adding that the party was gaining strength every year.

He said people used to say that Congress was finished in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. PTI

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