Buffeted by staggering scams and controversies over suspected involvement of right wing elements in terrorism, the Congress on Sunday unveiled a five-point action plan to deal with corruption and counter attacked BJP by demanding probe into “links” between RSS and its affiliates and terror.
A party plenary attended by over 15,000 delegates held against the backdrop of 2G spectrum, Adarsh and CWG scams heard Congress President Sonia Gandhi as well as her son Rahul Gandhi calling for strict and speedy action against corruption, including those involving politicians and bureaucrats in a “defined time-frame”.
In her Presidential address on the opening day of the two-day conclave at Burari on the outskirts of Delhi, Sonia Gandhi unveiled a five-point action plan to battle corruption by fast-tracking all cases against public servants including politicians “like us”.
She called for taking forward the proposal of State-funding of elections, legislative and clear procedures to ensure transparency in public procurement and shedding of discretionary powers by Chief Ministers and all Ministers, including at the Centre, especially in land allotments as they “breed corruption”.
An open competitive system of exploiting natural resources was also needed, she said.
Sonia Gandhi having laid the roadmap to battle corruption, the government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to follow up by taking executive action.
The conclave was also being held against the backdrop of the controversy surrounding Rahul Gandhi’s remarks to US Ambassador Timothy Roemer Hindu radicalism posed a bigger threat than terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Rahul Gandhi confined his speech to corruption without touching on the issue communalism and terror.
The Congress Plenary raised the pitch against saffron forces by demanding a probe into their “links” with terror after Sonia Gandhi condemned both majority and minority communalism as dangerous and said it should be defeated.
Her condemnation of both majority and minority communalism is seen as a damage-control exercise against the backdrop of controversy surrounding Rahul Gandhi’s comments.
The Plenary unanimously adopted a political resolution which said that “links” between terrorists and the RSS and its sister organisations have been “uncovered” in recent cases.
“The Indian National Congress calls upon the government to tackle this menace in the strongest possible manner and investigate links between terrorists and the RSS and its sister organisations that have been uncovered in some recent cases, said the resolution proposed by senior leader Pranab Mukherjee and seconded by Digvijay Singh and others including Rahul.
The role of religious fundamentalist groups challenging the security of the nation can no longer be ignored, the party said in the resolution that was discussed for over five hours on the opening day of the two-day conclave in Burari on the outskirts of the city.
Led by Sonia Gandhi, the Congress launched a strident attack on Sangh Parivar with leaders like Mukherjee referring to Pune and other blasts where right-wing groups have been suspected of having played a role.
Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh dragged senior BJP leader L K Advani by saying his rath yatra had sown the seeds of Hindu-Muslim divide and was the cause for terrorism in the country.
In her 30-minute address, Sonia Gandhi said “The Congress party makes no distinction between organisations of the majority and of the minority communities who indulge in communalism and related acts of terrorism. They are all dangerous, they must all be defeated.”
Maintaining that Congress has always fought against all forms of communalism, regardless of their source, Gandhi said, “communalism is the abuse of religion for narrow political purposes.
“It is the abuse of religion and to spread hatred and bigotry. It is the abuse of religion to polarise our society and to divide us.”
In an apparent attack on saffron forces, she said the country cannot ignore the pernicious impact of individuals, institutions and ideologies that distort history and thrive on spreading religious prejudice and inciting people to violence using religion as a cover.