Thursday, December 8, 2022

Cong will be strengthened under Kharge: Sonia

Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday expressed confidence that the party will be strengthened under new chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s leadership and successfully deal with the challenges it is facing going forward.
Speaking at an event where Kharge formally took over as the Congress president, the 75-year-old Gandhi said she was relieved at relinquishing the mantle of party presidency after shouldering the responsibility for years.
Hailing Kharge, she said the biggest satisfaction for her was that the new president elected by the party workers and leaders as per their wisdom, is an experienced, grassroots leader, who has attained these heights rising from being an ordinary party worker through his hard work and dedication.
“I have full faith that the party will get inspiration and message from him and the party will be constantly strengthened under his leadership,” Gandhi said in her remarks at the event that was attended by several top Congress leaders at the AICC headquarters here.
Gandhi, the longest serving president of the party who helmed it from 1998-2017 and then as interim chief from 2019-22, noted that the Congress faces many challenges.
“The biggest challenge is how do we successfully tackle the danger that has arisen to democratic principles of the country. The way you have elected the new Congress president in a democratic manner, I am confident party workers and leaders, in the same way, will unitedly emerge as a force that will successfully deal with the problems of the country,” she said in her remarks in Hindi.
“The Congress has been faced with big hurdles in the past too but the party never accepted defeat. Today also, with full unity, resolve and strength we have to move forward and succeed,” she asserted.
Elaborating on why she was feeling relieved after handing over the party’s reins to Kharge, Gandhi said she received love and respect of party workers and leaders over the years which was a matter of pride for her.
“I will be conscious of this till my last breath. But this honour was also a huge responsibility. I did my work as per my capability and capacity. Today, I will be freed of this responsibility, this weight will be off my shoulders, so it is natural, that I feel relieved,” she said.
“My heartfelt thanks to you for you cooperation and support always. Now this responsibility is with Kharge ji. Change is the norm in the world. Change keeps happening in every sphere of life and will continue to happen, the way new challenges keep emerging in every sphere of life,” Gandhi said.
The former Congress president also thanked the party’s central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry for conducting the polls.
In a statement of gratitude to Gandhi read out by Congress leader Ajay Maken at the event, the party said she has recognised and assimilated India in its various forms and in its unfathomable socio-cultural-geographical totality. “She derives her political inspiration from the profound love she feels for this great country. The people also returned the same love and trust to her,” it said.
“With her intervention, she made the politics of the party relevant and flexible according to the need of the hour and whenever the need arose, she took difficult and far-reaching decisions and laid the foundation for the future,” the statement said.
Hailing her contribution, the party said Gandhi converted consensus and common minimum programme of development into a political value and with her unequalled political acumen brought different political minded parties, groups and people on a single platform according to the needs of the country.
“Her experiment became not only successful, but also had far reaching historical importance,” the statement said.
“In the political life of the last 25 years, Sonia Gandhi ji set a unique example of human dignity, simplicity, discharge of duty and discipline. She instilled confidence in the ordinary Congress worker to walk on the same bright path in a difficult time. When the opportunity came, she protected and promoted democratic and people friendly values through efficient political management and accurate strategy,” the party said, adding that is why she is looked upon with the highest regard and respect in the entire political scene.
With a single-minded focus on protecting public interest and values, she never hankered after personal power and position, the party statement said.
She was not in power, but as Congress president she inspired the government of the country to enact new and concrete rights-based legislation in favour of the people. Right to Information Act, Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Act, Forest Rights Act, Right to Education Act, Food Security Act, Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Acts are the gifts of that era, it said.
“From Pachmarhi to Udaipur – Sonia Ji inspired and compelled the organisation to reconsider and formulate strategy on all the important occasions of history during the last 25 years,” the statement said.
“Today the icon of sacrifice Mrs. Sonia Gandhi is handing over the dignified post of Congress president to senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge. The party and crores of its workers are grateful for her proud leadership at this crucial moment and look forward to her continued affection and guidance,” it said.
Kharge is the first non-Gandhi to head the party in 24 years.

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