New Delhi, Aug. 20: The Congress-led government had done a “lot of work” but people fell for “false dreams” sold by some, Sonia Gandhi said today, summing up her party’s election rout in a scarcely veiled attack on the new regime.
“Hum logon ne bahut kaam kiya, lekin kuchh logon nein aisa jaal bichhaya ki log usme fas gaye (we did a lot of work but some people laid such a trapů people fell for it),” the Congress chief told an event organised by her party’s women’s wing on former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary.
“Our achievements got ignored and those selling false dreams marched ahead,” she added.
Sonia didn’t name Prime Minister Narendra Modi but the allusion was clear as the Congress has often accused the BJP’s 2014 poll mascot of peddling false dreams.
Rahul Gandhi didn’t attack the Modi government, limiting himself to saying the battle was not organisational but ideological. The Congress vice-president focused on the empowerment of women, saying every single woman in India has been suppressed in one way or another.
When it comes to taking on Modi, Sonia’s political credentials are better than her son. While her struggle and her 2004 decision to opt out of prime ministership added to her stature, a large section of people does not take Rahul seriously.
The BJP, too, has tended to make fun of Rahul’s criticism but avoided attacking Sonia in the recent past. Even today, Rahul’s claim that every Indian woman was suppressed was received with unease by many Congress leaders who felt he should have acknowledged there were a large number of truly empowered women in almost every sphere of life in India. “He has to sharpen his articulation. Till then, he should rely on prepared texts,” a former party MP said.
Rahul did try to highlight the RSS’s mindset about women, saying it wanted the “devi to be worshipped but women to stay indoors without being truly empowered”, but his speech was considered disappointing. He also stressed the importance of vision in reforming the society as laws alone could not address the problem of gender bias.
Sonia said the Modi dispensation had not been able to introduce a new governance model as most schemes being sold as new were borrowed from the Congress government. She listed a number of measures, including the campaign for toilets, to buttress her claim that the NDA government was copying the UPA’s schemes. She also promised to mount pressure on the government to pass the women’s reservation bill.
The Congress president expressed her resolve to revive her party and reclaim its lost glory. “Maybe, the path of our struggle is a bit longer and we may have to work a little more. But if all of us work hard and do it together, the day is not far when the Congress will regain its peak.”