Needs at least Flash Player Ver.9 to Play Download HereThe Nation on Wednesday paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, on his 65th death anniversary.President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh paid floral tribute to Gandhi at his memorial Rajghat. Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and a host of other dignitaries also paid tribute to the apostle of peace at his memorial. A series of functions are being organized throughout the country to mark the occasion.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The Nation on Wednesday paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, on his 65th death anniversary. President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh paid floral tribute to Gandhi at his memorial Rajghat. Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and a host of other dignitaries also paid tribute to the apostle of peace at his memorial. A series of functions are being organized throughout the country to mark the occasion. Mahatma Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 in Porbandar. A lawyer by profession, Gandhi led the struggle for India''s independence from British rule by following the path of non-violence. Ironically, Gandhi was shot dead by a Hindu fanatic, Nathuram Godse, at a prayer meeting in Delhi on January 30, 1948, less than a year after India became independent. For more details: http://www.gandhisonia.com http://www.pressbrief.in
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will visit Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on February 16 and make a convocation speech. Sonia Gandhi was invited in her capacity as the UPA Chairperson, which she has accepted. She will be welcomed with pomp and pageantry, with horse-mounted students as escorts.
Analysts say Sonia Gandhi’s Aligarh trip would be keenly watched by Muslims. The AMU is the alma mater of many Muslim elites and a political nerve-centre. India’s vice-president Hamid Ansari pursued an MA in political science and also earned his doctorate there.
Muslim educator Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan had founded the Aligarh Muslim University (then Anglo-Mohammedan Oriental College) after returning from Oxford in 1875. He remains an icon of education for Muslims.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Congress President Sonia Gandhi while speaking at the opening session of Congress’ chintan shivir at Jaipur emphasised on peaceful ties with neighbouring countries. Sonia Gandhi said that the relations should be based on “principles of civilised behaviour”. Her statements come in the wake of the brutal killing of two Indian Army soldiers near the Line of Control by Pakistani troops on 8 January.
“Let us be very clear, our dialogue must be based on principles of civilised behavior. We will never compromise. India’s foreign policy has always had a vision for its unique position in world affairs. This will be enhanced when we strengthen democracy”, said the Congress President.
Sonia Gandhi said the party must strike a fine balance between allies, policies. “In some states the party has not been able to consolidate political support. This is an issue that will have to be looked at”, she said. “We have to strike a fine balance between respecting alliances and ensuring rejuvenation of the party”, she added.”In some cases, historic legislation by UPA has not been translated into political support; I hope that will be discussed”.
She also said, “The last nine years have been a period of tremendous economic growth, social change and technological innovation. We should look at our strengths, our weaknesses and the threats we face. We have to recognise the new India. The younger generation is more demanding and less tolerant.”
Monday, January 21, 2013
“We have been maintaining a good relationship with Southern Gujarat. I will never forget the support and affection extended to Indira Gandhi when she was passing through a bad phase in her political career in 1977. Our critics are trying to weaken our relationship but have failed. I salute your commitment and honesty and assure you that we will maintain this healthy relationship with you forever”. These are the words of Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi while addressing a mammoth Congress rally in Surat region recently during her campaign for Congress in Gujarat. This shows how much she remembers late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her love towards Indira Ji is well known.
Sonia Gandhi also recalled the contribution of her husband and late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. “Who can forget the efforts of sonia gandhi late Sh. Rajiv Gandhi to develop the Dahej region which is now considered to be one of the biggest industrial areas? said Sonia Gandhi.
The Congress President slammed the Modi-led BJP government in the state and said that the people are fed up with the present state government. “I know that people are fed up with this government and Gujarat now needs new direction and that can be provided only by the Congress” said the Congress President and assured “we will work with sincerity, honesty, determination and commitment to fulfill the promises made in the Congress manifesto and will bring in radical development in Gujarat”
Listing the pathetic state of affairs of the Adivasis in the region, the Congress President continued “The people of Southern Gujarat are polite, honest and hardworking. But still, why there is so much poverty in this adivasi dominated area? Why there are no improvements in the life and financial condition of adivasis in the state? The BJP government in the state has been talking loud about the 15000 cr worth Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana. But where has the money gone? Where are the facilities promised by the BJP government to the Adivasis in the state?”
Sonia Gandhi further said “Lots of youth are jobless in the state. The health and education facilities are insufficient here. My sisters in this state have been facing atrocities because of the worsening law and order situation in the state. Why all these happening here? If the government had given attention to your problems, you would not have faced so many problems”. The Congress leader appealed to the people to support Congress for brining in radical changes in the state.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
“The time has come to work together, as the people of our country have great expectations from our Congress party. And, only by fulfilling the aspirations of people, we will definitely get the mandate again in the coming Lok Sabha elections, just a little more than a year away from now,” declared Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
She in her concluding address on the concluding day of on-going Chintan Shivir (brainstorming session) here on Sunday, urged the party workers to gear-up for effective organizational thrusts at all levels, in a meaningful manner.
“ Its time to look within, as the party. What makes us different and unique compared to other political out-fits in the country, must be outlined very clearly. We must answer effectively to questions as why people should vote for the Congress,” categorically stated Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
Congress-led UPA has completed eight and half years at the Centre. It has been a long journey. “We have come up a long way and we must apprise the people with our achievements. Be it about projects under UPA flagship or about various legislations like Right to Information Act ( RTI) and many others, we must project these to the people in general. We have to tell that we as a party have been deeply concerned for the social justice and economic parity among all sections of the society,” she stressed.
Notably, at the very outset of her address at about 10.30 am on Sunday here, Congress President Sonia Gandhi deliberated upon about the unfortunate incident of Delhi gang-rape on December 16 last year. She strongly forwarded that death of the gang-rape victim in the nation’s capital would not go in vain.
“She ( gang rape victim) was brave and she symbolized the spirit of new India. I will personally see that every single woman and single girl in the country are safe and secure,” strongly advocated Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
She also talked about reservation for women in the Parliament and she said that it was the vision of late Rajiv Gandhi who forwarded for women’s reservation in the Panchayati Raj system.
Talking about the issue of development as being a poll plank by many political parties, she said that as a party, the Congress is committed for overall development with social justice and economic parity for all.
She urged the party workers to expose all those (other political parties) which claim the UPA flagship projects as their own. Congress President Sonia Gandhi said, “We have not discriminated against any state and have given financial assistance, as required. But, many states claim the Central projects as their own, which we must expose.”
“Congress-led UPA at the Centre is doing all it can, for the overall development of the nation. We as the party must also get into effective mechanism to let people know what all we have done so far and what all we are doing for the country,” she said.
Talking about global economic slowdown and its effect on the Indian economy, Congress President said that some hard decisions have been taken to keep away the likely damages on our economy. “We as the Congress Party must make people aware about these facts and the necessity of the decisions, taken in the interest of the nation,” she focused. She also talked about international relations and said that on accepted civilised structures, the country would go for it with any other country.
In a statement declared from the dais of the Chintan Shivir, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said that the Congress party has been led by great people like Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shashtri, Indira Gandhi., Maulana Azad, Dr B R Ambedkar, Rajiv Gandhi and many others, to make India a modern country as it is today.
“We as the Congress Party have been fortunate to have been led by great visionaries and now, with their ideals, we must surge ahead to come up to the expectations of the people of this country,” announced Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
“I will continue to press for women reservation Bill; Delhi Gang-rape victim’s death will not go in vain”
Congress President Sonia Gandhi today addressed a meeting of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in Jaipur on the last day of the Chintan Shivir that began on Friday. “I am delighted by the active participation of our young leaders at the Shivir. The Chintan Shivir allowed us to introspect on key national and international issues” said the Congress President.
Referring her concern over corruption which according to her is deep rooted in the entire system, Sonia Gandhi said “Let me reiterate corruption at all levels is a deep rooted malice and all sections of society are affected by it. As a party we must lead struggle to combat its effect. At the last AICC session, corruption was major issue. I laid out a five-point action plan then and the government has worked on it.” “We have introduced the Lokpal bill in Parliament. We have introduced new path-breaking legislation for addressing public grievances and to protect whistleblowers” added the Congress President.
Touching upon the game changing policy of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Sonia Gandhi said “We also launched the historic 'Aap Ka Paisa Aap Ke Haath' scheme, which will stop corruption by middlemen”.
Sonia Gandhi also talked about the recent gang rape incident in Delhi that invited wide protests across the country. “The barbaric gang-rape of a young woman in Delhi has shaken the country. She embodied the spirit of an aspirational India. We will ensure her death will not go in vain” said the Congress President.
“Gender issues were discussed at the Chintan Shivir. The Congress has been at the forefront in the struggle to empower women, and it will continue to do so. Every woman has the fundamental right to feel safe and secure. Public figures made unacceptable remarks against women. We cannot tolerate mindsets that lead to crimes against women and children” she underlined.
Sonia Gandhi then declared “I assure you I will continue to press for a law for 30 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and assemblies”.
Exhorting the leaders to go to the people and explain the Congress’s achievements, the party leader continued “Today is also the time for the party to introspect and see how we are better than our opponents. We need to clearly explain to the people why we are a better political choice. We have the support of all sections of the society. The Congress is especially concerned about the welfare of the backward sections, women and farmers”.
She also sent out a warning; “We will fight forces that threaten the unity and integrity of the country”.
Listing out UCongress-led UPA Govt’s achievements, the chairperson of the claition said “Congress has worked to free the country from poverty. Our UPA government has worked very effectively under the leadership of Manmohan Singh”.
While defending the Centre’s economic reform measures, she added “Global recession is having an effect on India and has forced the government to take some hard decisions, which have hit the people” and told the Congress leaders, “We should explain to the people the reasons for these hard economic decisions”.
Admitting that the people have losing faith in politicians, Sonia Gandhi reminded “People are losing faith in politicians. We have to understand why this is happening”.
The Congress president also spoke about the need for electoral reforms and said that the Election Commission (EC) must introduce the necessary changes. Sonia Gandhi also asked the party members to work with unity and discipline saying that their victory was in the victory of the party.
“There are only 15 months left to the Lok Sabha elections. If we work well, there is no doubt we will be re-elected again. This is the time to work hard. As the country's main political party, the people's expectations from us is higher. We cannot let down the people who have put their faith in us” she said while concluding her address.
Rahul Gandhi while delivering his first speech at Congress’ chintan shivir at the Jaipur on the concluding day said that the people of this country are his life and he will fight for them. “The people of India are my life and I will fight for the people of India and for this party. I will fight with everything I have. I invite all of you to stand up and take on this fight” said Rahul Gandhi amidst loud applauds.
Full text of Rahul Gandhi’s speech
This is a huge honour for me. Over the past 8 years and in the past 8 years the party has taught a lot to me. The party has reposed tremendous faith in me and I want to thank all of you from bottom of my heart for all the help and directions they have given me.
There are people from south India who want me to speak in English. There are people of north India who want me to speak in Hindi. As a tradition I will first speak in English and then in Hindi.
In 1947 India was liberated, not by arms, but by unleashing the voice of our people. Other countries fought violently; they fought with weapons; they fought with death; India fought with non-violence and with voice. Everybody told us that it can not be done. They told us if we want to get rid of British you have to use violence. But the Congress party said no and also said that we are not going to use violence. We will use non-violence and we defeated the biggest empire of that time and sent them home.
This was the energy behind our freedom movement. Voices.. millions and millions of voices.. Gandhiji’s successors led by Jawar Lal Nehru freed voices of every Indian by ensuring the democracy and became the bedrock of our constitution. Relentlessly championing the voice of every Indian will always be the essence of the Congress party. Every single Indian, without seeing his caste or religion, will be supported by the Congress party… no matter who he is.. no matter where he is.. If he is an Indian we work for him.
Let us look at the 60 years of India’s successes. They have all come when we gave our people voice. The green revolution restored the voice of the farmers.. Bank nationalization restored the voice of the poor.. IT and telecom revolution literally gave the people voice for million and millions of people. If you have got the mobile phones in your phones in your pockets that was the result of that revolution.
It is an honour that Manmohan Singh Ji is sitting here. Because he spearheaded another revolution.. In 1991 he unleashed the voice of thousands in the field of entrepreneurship and changed the country for ever..
The UPA Government has followed Gandhi Ji’s model. It has created platforms for those denied their voice in the political system. For the first time in our history our people have been guaranteed their basic rights; social and economic rights.. The food Bill will ensure that no mother sees her child goes hungry at night.. RTI gives every single Indian the right to personally take on the battle against corruption.. MNREGA has given millions of Indians pride in their work; The right to education enables every child to aspire to greatness. All of these radical innovations were possible only because of the growth provided by the Congress party and the UPA.
But there are many challenges ahead. The voices of the million of Indians today are telling us that they want a greater say in governance, in politics and in administration. They are telling us that the cause of their lives cannot be decided by a handful of people behind closed doors who are not fully accountable to them. They are telling us that India’s system of governance is stuck in the past; it has become a system that robs people’s voice; a system that disempowers instead of empowering;
But why we have been in this situation? Our ministries do the work of panchayats; Why do our Chief Ministers need to appoint a teachers? Why do our Vice Chancellors chosen by people who are far removed from the education system? No matter what the state you look at; No matter which political party you look at; Why do a handful of our people control the entire political space?
Power is grossly centralized in our country. We only empower the people at the top of our system. We don’t believe in empowering the people all the down all the way in the bottom. Every single day I meet people with tremendous understanding. Almost everywhere they are kept out of system.. No one can hear their voice.. No matter how much they try to speak.. no one listens.. I also meet people holding high positions.. they have tremendous voice but no understanding of the issues at hand..
Why this happens? It happens because we don’t respect knowledge.. We respect positions.. It doesn’t matter how much wisdom you have, if you do not have a position you mean nothing. This is the tragedy of India.. Why the youth are out on the streets? They are angry because they are alienated. They are excluded from the political class.. They watch from the sidelines.. Why are our women suffering? Because their voices have not been trampled upon the people with arbitrary powers on their lives. Why our poor are confined to poverty? Because decisions regarding their lives and the services they need are being taken by people far away answerable to them only in theory..
Unless we respect and empower people for their knowledge and understanding we cannot change anything in this country.. All our public system, administration, justice, education and political system are designed to keep people with knowledge out. They are all closed system. Their design creates mediocrity and mediocrity dominates. Mediocrity dominates discussions and the voices are crushed by the loudness of the people who posses neither the understanding nor compassion. Success in these systems does not come through building. It comes by excluding. It comes not by pushing people forward but by holding people back.
Everyday initiative is killed to maintain the status quo. We do not praise our colleagues or look at their strengths. We only look at the ways to neutralize them. Every day we face with the hypocrisy of this system. We see it every day but we pretend that it is not there. People who are corrupt stand up and talk about eradicating corruption. People who disregard women in their entire life talk about women’s rights. Until we start to respect and empower the people for their knowledge, for their understanding, we are never going to change this country.
We need the aam aadmi to participate in politics. Even if I speak, the decisions have been taken inside closed rooms. There is a young and impatient India and it is demanding a greater voice in the future of the nation. Let me tell you that they are not going to watch all silently.
Our priorities are clear. The time has come to question the centralized, unresponsive and unaccountable system of decision making in governance, administration and politics. Lots of people say that the system needs to be run better. What we need is to transform the system. We need to rethink about the system and we should reform it..
I am optimistic.. We have already put the building block for this revolution in place. And to a big degree I would like to thank the Congress President, the Prime Minister and the Congress party for putting these building blocks in place. Let me tell you what these building blocks are..
India is more connected today than it was ever been. We have the networks of roads, information, communication, people and media for new ideas to emerge. It is no longer possible to limit an idea.
Let me speak about Aadhaar. It gives us an unprecedented mechanism to recognize the unique journey and aspiration of every single Indian, no matter where he is. Direct Cash Transfer is going to allow us to respond to these dreams with an empowering delivery system. My father used to talk about 15 paise to rupee reaching the people. We today, are preparing a system that is going to answer that question. Now 99 percent of their money will go to the people. It is a revolution and no other country has done it. We are preparing that revolution.
We prepared the revolution and our opponents say that we are bribing the people. Giving the people their due is now called bribing the country. They say because they are scared. They understand what Aadhar can do, they understand what cash transfer can do, and most importantly they understand what people in the Congress party can do.
Panchayatiraj and women Self help movement gave us a platform to transform our democracy.. The balance of power in decision making must shift away from Delhi and state capitals to panchayats and wards. Congress party must wage the continuous and relentless battle to overcome social prejudice and discrimination against women, dalits, minorities and tribals.
I am optimistic about the building blocks but I am most optimistic and excited because I see the energy, the passion and the capability of the youth. We need to address their urgent demands for the jobs, now. Our institutions for learning and training must respond, first and foremost, to prepare youth its skill for the best jobs in the world. Equally, the decision that matters to creating jobs needs to be further liberated from irrational red tapes and outdated laws so that the tremendous energy of our youth can be wholly unleashed.
Now let me talk something about our organization. You have given me a big responsibility. Congress is a big family.. the biggest in the country and the world. Any one from Indian can join us. We need a quick transformation but proper thoughts are required to do it. For transformation, we all should work as a unit by listening to everyone’s voice.
I was heading the NSUI and Youth Congress and now I am the Vice President of the party. You should not feel that Rahul Gandhi listens to only NSUI and Youth Congress. Rahul Gandhi’s family is always with every one of you. From today onwards Rahul Gandhi will work for all in the party. I want to assure you that I will treat every one of you equally whether you are from Youth Congress, NSUI or any other party outfit. I will listen to all of you and will try to understand your problems.
There is no any permanent law and policy for Congress. It is the biggest party in the world and we keep on changing our policies as per the need of the system. That is the beauty of the Congress and on many occasions I myself thought how the system works in Congress. But people support us and we keep winning elections.
Congress is the party made by Gandhi Ji and it is filled with the DNA of India. Even our opponents are surprised to see the upsurge of our party. There are many parties who stand for certain religion, caste or community but we say that we are for Indians. We don’t see people seeing their caste or religion and we treat every Indian equally.
Still we need a proper system. We need to focus on effective leadership building. We need to develop more and more efficient leadership so that after five years we will not feel any shortage of leadership to run the states as well as the nation. We should build able and secular leadership for the future of our party and the country.
We should be careful in ticket distribution for elections. On many occasions we do not discuss with local leadership before distributing tickets. Many leaders from other parties come to us and we give ticket to them. After the elections they just run away. We need to give tickets on merit. We should change this. There should not be any parachuting of candidates from the top. We should respect the feeling of our cadres and leaders. We also should take strong actions against the rebel candidates.
The problem is in the implementation of our policies. You have the knowledge and wisdom and if we try to implement our policies, together, we can be successful and when we are successful no one can defeat us. We should listen more to the voices of the people at the grass root level. If we do so the frustration, anger and pain inside the people will come down. They will start thinking about us positively and that will help us to gain electorally.
I heard our senior leaders as well as the young members in the past two days. There is no shortage of knowledge in our party. No one thinks so deeply like us. I want to learn more from all of you. I want to listen to your voices and take it forward. I want to be a judge, not a lawyer.
I now want to shar some emotional things with you. Today I was standing at the balcony and was thinking about the huge responsibility given to me by the party and the workers. I want to tell a little bit of what I feel. I want to tell you about hope and I also want to tell you about power.
When I was a little boy, I used to play badminton. I loved it because it gave me balance in a complicated world. I was taught how to play in my grand mother’s house by two police men who protected my grand mother. Dear my friends, one day, they killed my grand mother and took away the balance in my life.
I felt pain like I never felt before. Many of us had experienced this and you will therefore understand my feelings. My father was in Bengal and he came back. The hospital was dark, green and dirty. There was a huge crowd screaming outside. They were very angry. It was the first time in my life that I saw my father crying. He was the bravest person I knew but I saw he was crying. Though I was a kid, I could see that my father was broken.
On those days our country was not the same what we see today. In the eyes of the world we had nothing. No cars, money or wealth and every one used to call us a poor country. The same evening I saw my father addressing the nation on Television. I knew; like me he was broken inside. He was terrified.
But when he spoke at that dark night, I saw a small glimmer of hope. It was like a small ray of light in a dark sky. The next day I realized that many people have seen it. Today as I look back I can see that it was that small ray of hope in the darkness that changed India as we see what today. Without hope you can not achieve anything. You can have plans, ideas, but unless you have hopes you can not change things.
Now I want to talk to you about power. Last night every single one of you congratulated me. But last night my mother came to my room. She sat with me and she cried. Why did she cry? She cried because she understands the power so many people seek is actually a poison. She can see it what it does to the persons around and the people they love. Most importantly she can see it because she is not attached to it.
The only antidote to this poison, for all of us, is not to become attached to it. We should not chase power for the attributes of power. We should only use it to empower the voice of people. It is my mother’s experience in her life time, it is my experience of 8 years, and I am sure many of you who deal with power every day understand what I am saying and realize the positive and the negative. We must not forget that there is negative and you have to be very careful when you administer the power.
Today India is not like it was in 1994. We are no longer seen as worthless. Today the entire world is quoting us. Today we are the future and as I said before nations are not built on schemes and plans but is on the foundation of a hope. I am standing here because the Congress party is the symbol of this hope and has a potential to embody it.I want to end by saying that the Congress party is my life. The people of India are my life and I will fight for the people of India and for this party. I will fight with everything I have. I invite all of you to stand up and take on this fight.
Newly-appointed Vice-President of the Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi, in his first inaugural address at the Chintan Shivir (brainstorming session) after donning the Number -2 position in the organization, urged the entire rank and file of his party to prepare for a change, to enable the country to grow from strength to strength, at all levels of governance.
“I am optimistic and we have already put the building-blocks in place. We need to transform the system of governance for a better India, where all people get empowered with their voices heard and their say being accounted for,”stated Rahul Gandhi. He said that power should not be used for the attributes of power but for empowering the people.
Dedicating his life to the Congress Party and the nation, he said that Congress is not just a political out-fit but is a big family – biggest in the globe- and its DNA is Hindustani (Indian).
In a very straight-forward deliberation, the new Vice-President of Congress Rahul Gandhi, forwarded that the party needs some set of rules of internal governance and this could be possible only by way of changing the old system.
“We need to develop leadership at all levels. We must have 40 to 50 such leaders who can be fit enough to run the country. Likewise, in every state there should be at least 10 to 20 leaders who can take the responsibility to run the concerned state,” Rahul Gandhi said. The same should be the case at district and local levels, he added.
About ticket distribution system for contesting elections, he said that decision from top is taken but it should not be like that. Party workers should be respected and be given due space in this regard, he categorically said. About leaders, he said those who perform should be honoured and those who don’t should be ousted, he remarked. He also warned that actions must be taken against the rebels in the party.
At the outset, he thanked all party workers of the Congress for their toil, in strengthening the organization. “It is a honour for me that I have been given a responsibility,” he very humbly forwarded. He also thanked all for the learnings he got in the past eight years that he has been in active politics.
“In 1947, India got liberated. We fought with British Empire with non-violence and we defeated them and sent them back home. Mahatma Gandhi’s successor Pt Nehru, Maluana Azad and many other visionaries gave voice to millions of Indians. During last six decades of Independence, India has seen Green Revolution, Banks’ Nationalisation, IT Revolution and all these have empowered the people of our country in many ways,” said Rahul Gandhi.
Congress-led UPA to have followed the great ideals of our nation-builders like Mahatma Gandhi., he said. He talked about RTI, MNREGA, Right to Education and Food Security Bill and said as how these have been aiming to empower the ‘Aam Aadmi’ of this country.