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Business News/ Politics / News/  Sonia Gandhi breaks silence on suspension of MPs: ‘Govt strangulating democracy’

Sonia Gandhi breaks silence on suspension of MPs: ‘Govt strangulating democracy’

Sonia Gandhi speaks on disappointing assembly election results and urges Congress MPs to prepare for next year's general elections.

Sonia Gandhi breaks silence on suspension of MPsPremium
Sonia Gandhi breaks silence on suspension of MPs

Sonia Gandhi Wednesday accused the government of "strangulating democracy" by suspending MPs over a legitimate demand and said the Congress has its task cut out for next year's general elections both as a party and as INDIA bloc member.

Noting that the assembly election results being very disappointing is an understatement, the Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson urged party MPs to channel their disappointment into positivity for next year's general elections.

This was the first time that Sonia Gandhi spoke on the recent assembly poll results.

Addressing party MPs at a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party in the Central Hall of Parliament, Gandhi said, "To say that the assembly election results in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have been very disappointing for our party is an understatement."

"The Congress president has already had a first round of reviews to understand the reasons for our poor performance and to draw the needed lessons for our organization," she said.

"We are facing enormous challenges. Yet, I am confident that our fortitude and resilience will see us through. Our ideology and our values are our guiding light at this difficult time. We must never forget that our leaders fought against insurmountable odds with great courage and fortitude to give us freedom."

Gandhi told the MPs to "channel the disappointment into a positive drive for the coming general elections".

She told the Congress MPs that the Lok Sabha polls are to be held in the next few months and "we have our tasks cut out both as a party and as INDIA group member."

About the suspension of over 140 opposition MPs from Parliament who have been demanding Home Minister Amit Shah's statement on the December 13 Parliament security breach, Gandhi said never before have so many Opposition MPs been suspended and that too for raising a "perfectly reasonable and legitimate" demand.

All the opposition MPs asked for was a statement by the home minister in the Lok Sabha on the extraordinary events of December 13, but "there are no words to describe the arrogance with which this request was treated", she said.

"What happened on December 13 is inexcusable and cannot be justified. It took four days for the prime minister to address the nation and express his views on the incident and he did so outside Parliament.

"By this, he clearly indicated his disdain for the dignity of the House and his disregard for the people of our country. I leave it to you to imagine how the BJP would have responded had they been in opposition today," she noted.

Later in the day, Congress MPs held a protest against the suspension of opposition members outside Mahatma Gandhi's statue in the Parliament complex.

The former Congress chief targeted the BJP government at the Centre over the "soaring" inflation and said the poor are suffering and economic inequalities are rising. "There is a significant gap between the prime minister's boasts on economic growth and ground reality," she said.

Gandhi also said the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill in Parliament with a rider was an eyewash to mislead women and garner their votes. There is no time to waste and reservation for women must be implemented immediately, she said.

She said the Congress' position on Jammu and Kashmir has been clear and consistent, asserting that full statehood must be restored immediately and elections be held there at the earliest.

Gandhi said the Congress has launched an innovative campaign to strengthen its finances and noted that the importance of this drive cannot be minimized.

"I am confident that each and every one of you will do your part to ensure that it remains a sustained and successful effort," she told the party MPs.

The Congress has launched its "Donate for Desh" crowdfunding campaign and said that it will generate resources for the party ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

All Indians above the age of 18 years can donate a minimum of 138 or in multiples of 138, such as 1,380, 13,800 and so on, to the campaign. The crowdfunding initiative, the party said, was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's historic "Tilak Swaraj Fund", which was launched more than 100 years ago in 1920-21.

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Published: 20 Dec 2023, 12:00 PM IST
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