Sonia to continue as Cong chief, says PM poll promises ‘hawabaazi’

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New Delhi: Contrary to speculation about Rahul Gandhi’s elevation, Sonia Gandhi will remain as Congress President with her term being extended today by another year by the party’s highest policy making body which also decided to put off its internal polls.

A resolution passed by the Congress Working Committee(CWC) extending 68-year-old Sonia’s term puts to rest for the moment the speculation that had swirled after the party Vice President’s return from a sabbatical earlier this year that he could be elevated any time this year.

Steering clear of questions when Rahul will be elevated, the Congress said division of work between Sonia and Rahul is an “ideal situation”.

The Congress insisted that the party is in a “very comfortable position” with a youthful Vice President and a mature and experienced Sonia Gandhi as President.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said this while dismissing suggestions that such an arrangement would lead to two power centres in the organization.

Addressing the CWC meeting, Sonia mounted an offensive against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying most of his poll promises were all “hawabaazi” (empty talk) and that his government has “failed abysmally” to match words with deeds and media events with actual accomplishments.

Sonia also said that from aggressively mocking his predecessor Manmohan Singh and his policy during the 2015 Lok Sabha election campaign Modi has been reduced to “unedifying flip-flops”, casting doubts on what he really stood for.

Giving credit to the campaign by Congress workers against land bill “under active guidance” of Rahul for the government climbdown, Sonia spoke of launching “similar” action against the “assault” on issues like labour reforms, women and child development, RTI and MGNREGA.

“The U-turn on the land ordinance is evidence that the government is out of touch with ground realities. It has become painfully clear that most of the pledges made by the Prime Minister during his election campaign were nothing more than hawabaazi,” she said.

In the first meeting of the CWC since the Prime Minister declared that land ordinance would not be repromulgated, Sonia said that due to Congress’ sustained campaign, the government has been compelled to withdraw its “anti-farmer” amendments.

Expressing concern over considerable deterioration in the security situation in India’s neighbourhood, she said jawans and civilians are being increasingly targeted.

“Instead of a coherent policy on Pakistan, this government can’t seem to make up its mind on what it should do,” she said.

The economy is on a downward slide while prices continue on their unrelenting rise, she said, adding that the Modi Government has “failed abysmally to match words with deeds, to match media events with actual accomplishments, to match headlines with substance.”

Sonia’s continuance as the Congress president for up to one year after the party today resolved to push back its internal polls by a year signalled that Rahul is unlikely to take over its top post in the immediate future.

Sonia has the record of holding the longest tenure as Congress chief. She took over the party in early 1998. Her current term was due to end in December this year.

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