In a virtual snub to partymen not taking the party's austerity drive seriously as also Rahul Gandhi's visits to Dalit homes, Congress on Saturday advised partymen to lead a life of simplicity.
"When Rahul Gandhi visits village after village and rests on cots of Dalits...when most of our veteran leaders and traditional partymen lead their life in simplicity and fulfill their duties responsibly then other people should also try to bring a change in their daily life style," the party said.
In an editorial in the latest issue of its mouthpiece 'Congress Sandesh', the party made it clear that "being wealthy does not by itself give us a right to spend as we please".
"People who have nothing to do with the basic values of life normally end up offering wrong reasoning to hide their violation of values," the party said.
The party's comment came close on the heels of the controversy over Uttar Pradesh ministers, including some union ministers, enjoying the comfort of fans and cooler during the visits to Dalits houses.
It also came in the backdrop of Union Minister Shashi Tharoor's "cattle class" remark which had raised a controversy as also his stay and that of another Union Minister SM Krishna in a five star hotel and attempts to justify it. "It is not a question as to whose wealth we are enjoying," the editorial said.
"..we are a part of that Congress in whose veins flows the blood of sacrifices, whether we as members of the party have the right to enjoy the luxuries even with our own money," the editorial said reminding partymen of the party's "pledge to improve the plight of the poor".
The editorial also invoked "the history of Congress to stress the idea of simplicity and sacrifice and dismissed the justification for lavish lifestyle with personal money".
"Had it been so, in our struggle for freedom, no Congress leader would have shed his foreign clothes and burnt them and adapted the rough Khadi cloth.
Nor an Anand Bhavan would have been donated for the nation. Those who sacrificed their lives to keep the flag of Congress flying high were also people who had comfort and their own wealth.
"Being wealthy does not by itself give us a right to spend as we please. Those who choose to be a part of public life should know that they are not living in an island but their lives are meant to provide a direction to the lives of others," the editorial said advising partymen "not to live a life thinking only of their comforts".
While praising the steps taken by party President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul in reviving the party after the death of Rajiv Gandhi, the editorial said "neither Sonia Gandhi nor Rahul Gandhi expects any recompense for those sacrifices." PTI