Salient points in Sonia’s plenary speech

Sunday, December 19, 2010

NEW DELHI - Following are the salient points of Congress president’s Sonia Gandhi’s speech at the 83rd plenary of the party.

- Recognising Rao’s contributions: P.V. Narsimha Rao (former prime minister) gave fresh impetus to the process of economic reforms.

- Congress is pan-India party: We embody the very idea of India in all its diversity. We are the nation’s pre-eminent political party, the only one with a true pan-India presence and strength.

- Bihar drubbing, lessons learnt: The recent election in Bihar has demonstrated that there is no alternative to earnestly beginning the process of reviving the party organisation from the grassroots. There are no shortcuts.

- Keep talking: In the troubled parts of our country, the door of dialogue has to be kept open, the prospect of political accommodation kept alive. This is the only way to reconciliation and enduring peace.

- Kashmir, special mention: In Jammu and Kashmir, we must address the alienation of a whole new generation of youth that has known nothing but conflict.

- Terror, no distinction: The Congress makes no distinction between majority and minority community organisations who indulge in communalism and related acts of terrorism. They are all dangerous.

- Corruption, no tolerance: There should be no tolerance for corruption. Even when no charge has been established, we have asked ministers and chief ministers to step down, pending inquiry. How many other parties can make such a claim?

- Parliament logjam: Can the opposition justify undermining the norms on which a parliamentary democracy functions? Surely, parliament cannot be held hostage to political blackmail, political expediency. Parliament itself is the forum to discuss and resolve contentious issues.

- Solid support to PM: He is the embodiment of sobriety, dignity and integrity. The BJP’s attack is downright despicable. I compliment him for his leadership, for remaining calm amidst the storm and for his unwavering devotion to the progress of the nation.

- Fast-tracking corruption cases: There is merit in instituting a new system of fast-tracking all cases that concern corruption by public servants, including politicians.

- Party first: I can understand individual ambitions but when they are not fulfilled, the party’s cohesion should not be jeopardised. The party must always come before the individual.

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