17 May : Fresh from Lok Sabha electoral triumph, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has asked partymen to start working to restore the party’s "historical" role as the natural party of governance". Expressing gratitude to the electorate for again reposing confidence in the party in Lok Sabha poll, she said "the election is now behind us and hard work must begin. We can now start to restore the Congress party to its former historical role as the natural party of governance in India".Addressing the Congress Working Committee meeting at New Delhi on Sunday, she said, referring to the impressive performance of Congress-led UPA in the elections, said "we meet at a moment of great significance and a time of great responsibility and of course great satisfaction".
She said that after many years Congress has emerged with a clear mandate."With our pre-poll allies, we have come close to achieving a majority in the Lok Sabha. We are grateful for the confidence that the people have once again reposed in us and we thank them," Gandhi said.
Congratulating party workers and appreciating their sincerity and dedication, she said the results would not have been possible without the hard work of the candidates and the party workers at all levels.
Gandhi told the CWC members that this was not a moment merely for jubilation."It is a moment for sober introspection. I would like us to think back to the dreams of our leader, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indiraji and Rajivji and so many more of them who taught us to think not of power but of service and who gave their lives for the country," she added.
The party President said "with these elections, we have begun to redeem the traditions they symbolised, the traditions of the Congress party which led the freedom struggle and built the foundations of our country as a great, democratic secular nation".
Pointing to the task ahead, Gandhi said, "We have been appointed the guardians of the hopes and aspirations of our people, most of all the poor and disadvantaged. It is our sacred task to take up this responsibility with sincerity, honesty and diligence".
Referring to the last five years of the UPA government, she said that under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s leadership, "we were able to put in place many measures to improve their (poor people’s) lives to bring about greater accountability in governance, to strengthen our economy and our security".
"We must make sure that these endeavours are taken forward and that we fully meet our people’s expectations. We must not forget that new hopes and aspirations have been aroused. Great duties and tasks beacon us," Gandhi said.
The CWC passed two separate resolutions, one to thank the people of the country for the mandate and another to appreciate the role played by the Congress President, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.
Expressing profound sense of appreciation for the outstanding role played by the Congress President, the resolution said, "She led the Congress party with determination, discipline and drive to a resounding victory. She articulated and communicated our party’s key campaign messages and themes indefatigably".
It also expressed gratitude towards Singh, for the dignified but firmly effective manner with which he confronted the political opponents who sought to belittle the achievements of the Congress-led UPA government.
Thanking the people for the mandate, the resolution said, "While expressing its sincerest gratitude, the CWC is conscious of the new responsibilities that have been placed on the INC and of the new hopes and aspirations that have been aroused by the mandate".
"It (CWC) pledges to fulfill the promises that have been included in our party’s manifesto. It also pledges to fulfill the promises made during our campaign," the resolution said.
The resolution said that it was a mandate for strengthening the foundations of secularism and forging ahead on the path of faster and more inclusive growth.
Referring to the success of the national party (Congress) in the elections, the CWC resolution said that it was also a mandate for a national party with a national outlook to tackle the challenges at the national level while at the same time being sensitive to regional and local aspirations.