Oppn, civil society levelling baseless allegations: Sonia

New Delhi: A combative Congress President Sonia Gandhi today made a scatching attack on the opposition and civil society for levelling "baseless" allegations against the Prime Minister and the party, saying it was part of a conspiracy and told partymen to fight back.

"In a democracy, it is the job of the opposition to oppose but the manner in which opposition and some anti- Congress elements are, as part of a conspiracy, levelling baseless allegations against the Prime Minister, the UPA government, the party and some of our colleagues, is a matter of regret," she said in her opening remarks at the meeting of the Congress Working Committee.

"We will have to fight fiercely against such allegations at the party and the government levels," Gandhi said with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by her side.

Without referring to the petrol price hike, she said there have been economic challenges too that are impacting the common man. "The whole world was passing through a difficult phase and we have to face it and we are facing it".

She said the report to the people brought out on the third anniversary on the UPA government was a "document of success inspite of the difficulties."

Without directly referring to any particular issue, she utilised the occasion to criticise non-Congress governments in the states alleging that they are not cooperating as is expected in a democracy in implementing the policies made by the Centre.

Gandhi said that the party has to be strengthened at all levels ahead of a series of state elections as also the Lok Sabha polls in 2014. "And for this, the most important thing is that we all work unitedly," she said. While Gandhi did not take the name of civil society, the reference to "some anti-Congress elements" was obviously aimed at it.

The CWC deliberations took place a day after Anna Hazare and yoga guru Ramdev sat on a day-long fast protesting against corruption and attacking the government and threatening a fight to the finish by August on the black money issue.

Telling partymen that unity is the need of the hour, she said that the strength of the organisation would grow doubly if partymen use half the energy that they waste on factionalism and petty issues.

"People will behave with the party in the same manner as its image would emerge in their mind based on the opinion they form about us," she said, adding that when a political evaluation takes place, it is always based on the organisation and not an individual.

"This is a test for us as a Congress worker. Not to understand this will be a big mistake. It is a matter of caution, warning and challenge for all," Gandhi said.

The Congress President said she was confident that partymen could take on any challenge, "provided we do not demoralise them in their politics."

She said the Congress has created history in the last 126 years due to the inner strength of the party workers. "If we step ahead by realising this potential as our asset, then we can achieve any objective. We will get the support of people. We have to win," she said.

It is the first formal meeting of the CWC after the party debacle in Uttar Pradesh as well its poor show in Punjab and loss of power in Goa. There is no fixed agenda set for the CWC meeting, which is an extended affair as PCC presidents and CLP leaders including party chief ministers have been invited for the deliberations.