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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Mallikarjun Kharge on same page as Rahul Gandhi

Together we have to fight against the attacks on the Constitution and the conspiracy to destroy our democracy, says the newly elected Congress president

Sanjay K. Jha New Delhi Published 20.10.22, 12:46 AM
Rahul Gandhi speaks with the media during the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district on Wednesday.

Rahul Gandhi speaks with the media during the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district on Wednesday. PTI

Mallikarjun Kharge’s first message after getting elected Congress president on Wednesday reflected a unity of purpose with Rahul Gandhi, the party’s most influential leader whose straight talk many seniors had balked at.

Yeh desh ek tanashah ki sanak ki bhent nahin chadhaya ja sakta (This country cannot be sacrificed to the whims of a dictator),” Kharge said.

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“Together we have to fight against the attacks on the Constitution and the conspiracy to destroy our democracy. We have to fight the fascist forces that are wearing the garb of communalism,” he added.

This is the language spoken by Rahul that many influential leaders in the party were uncomfortable with.

In his letter resigning as Congress president after the 2019 election debacle, Rahul had hinted at non-cooperation by senior leaders, saying that at times he stood alone in the fight against the fascist regime.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, then the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, was one of those opposing an aggressive stand against Narendra Modi. He was not given another term and has left the Congress.

Sources said Kharge has shown a combative instinct and, much like Rahul, does not believe in political compromises. He is not seen as a faction leader, nor does he have ties with corporate groups.

Kharge hailed Sonia Gandhi’s contribution and sacrifices and appealed to Congress workers and citizens to join the Bharat Jodo Yatra and strengthen Rahul’s hands. He spoke on unemployment, rising prices, economic inequality and divisive politics, suggesting that his thought process was aligned with the objectives of the Yatra.

Rahul took care not to encroach on the president’s domain, refusing to answer questions on policies and future strategy at a news conference in Andhra Pradesh. “The Congress president is the supreme authority. Every Congress person reports to the president. Even my role will be decided by the Congress president. He is the final authority. He has to decide how I can be deployed,” he said.

He, however, talked freely about the RSS-BJP and the Modi regime, saying: “They have actually two-three objectives. First, to maintain caste hierarchy and eventually kill the Constitution. Second, to keep Indian women subservient to men. Third, divide India on religious lines. We protect the Constitution, protect the rights of women, and bring communities and religions together. That’s what the aim of the Bharat Jodo Yatra and we are doing it successfully,” Rahul said.

Returning to his pet theme of crony capitalism while answering a question on the rupee’s fall, Rahul said: “It is not just a question of the dollar price. It is a question of how you look at the Indian economy. The BJP’s policies have completely destroyed the strength of the Indian economy. Job creation in our economy has always happened on the back of small and medium businesses, on the back of strong agricultural system, and demonetisation and flawed GST have destroyed both these systems.”

He continued: “At the same time, massive transfer of wealth is taking place from the poor people and from the middle class to a handful of really rich business people. As you must be aware the second richest or now the third richest man in the world is Indian and he is a close associate of the Prime Minister, a friend of the Prime Minister and everybody understands exactly how he has become the third richest man. What people don’t clearly understand is that this is a money transfer from the farmers, from the small businessman, from the middle class into the hands of these types of very rich people.”

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