At a time when the Congress and the government were on the backfoot in the wake of a series of scams, party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said severe punishment should be given to the corrupt.
“Whatever the Congress President has said on the issue, has given us inspiration to fight corruption. We require accountability…severe punishment should be given to the corrupt,” he said at the Congress Plenary while participating in the debate on the political resolution.
Rahul, like his mother, took potshots at party ministers and chief ministers asking them to “spare some time for the organisation and the party workers”.
Without referring to the 2G spectrum allocation scam or the Commonwealth Games mess or the Adarsh housing scandal, he prefaced his remarks by noting that a number of issues relating to corruption have surfaced recently.
He said corruption snatches away the common man’s opportunity to progress.
Incidentally, Sonia Gandhi, during her presidential address, also did not mention any of the scams.
“Many Ministers and Chief Ministers are sitting here. I want to tell them that give some time to the workers in the organisation. Wherever I go, I get complaints. I know that running a Ministry takes a lot of time, but the workers should also get some time,” Rahul said during his 10-minute speech.
“When we cannot connect with our own workers, how can we be able to connect with the grassroots. We say that there is a need to connect people to the organisation. But the fact is that our organisation needs to connect with them,” Rahul said.
“We must never forget the relationship between growth and distribution of opportunity,” he said and thanked his mother Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for demonstrating their wisdom and ability to strike a balance.
Noting that a common worker is the link between society and the government, the Congress General Secretary said, “When we fail to respect our workers and fail to recognise their contribution in our success, then how will we understand the grassroot reality”.
Observing that the people would connect with the party only when everybody gets equal opportunity in the organisation, Rahul defined the ‘aam aadmi’ as a person “who does not have a connection to the system”.
“Whether he is poor or rich, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian, educated or uneducated, if he is not connected to the system, he is an aam aadmi,” he said.
In this context, he gave examples of a displaced tribal boy in Niyamgiri, a dalit boy in Jhansi who is forced to sit at the back of the classroom, a women professional in Bangalore who cannot get her child admitted in a good school or a topper in Shillong who cannot get a job as he is not connected to the “right people”.
Referring to the connectivity between the government and the people, Rahul recalled the past instances of green revolution, nationalisation of banks and opening up of communication in the interiors through STD/PCO booths which involved the people.
The Congress-led government now had implemented the rural employment guarantee scheme, the Right to Information Act, the Right to Education law and the law granting forest land rights to tribals, he said, adding that the unique identity initiative would lead to identification of the common man and make delivery system more accountable.