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From Modi to non-Gandhi Congress chief: Highlights of Sonia Gandhi's speech

Slams Modi goverment, expresses connfidence Congress will come back to power in 2019

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Sonia Gandhi

UPA Chairperson and former Congress chief slammed the led goverment on Friday and expressed connfidence that the Congress will come back to power in 2019.

Delivering the keynote address at the India Today Conclave 2018 in Mumbai, She said the promise of 'achhe din' will work against the Modi government in the same manner as 'India Shining' campaign did against the government in 2004.

Answering a question about the possibility of the and the coming back to power in 2019, Gandhi shot back: "No we are going to come back. We are not going to let them come back."

She alleged that freedom of the people was "under systematic and sustained assault" and there was a long-in-the-making project to refashion the very idea of India.

The former Congress President also said all this was being done by attempts to rewrite history, "falsifying facts and slandering nation builders and fanning prejudice and bigotry".

Key highlights of Sonia Gandhi's address at the India Today Conclave:

1. Non-Gandhi Congress chief: said on Friday that there may be a Congress President from outside the Nehru-Gandhi family in future.

"Why not? In future there may well be," Gandhi shot back when asked if there was a chance of a leader from outside the family heading the Congress.

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2. as PM: The Congress leader said that she chose as the prime minister in 2014 as she was aware of her limitations and knew that he was a better candidate. "I knew my limitations. I knew would be a better prime minister than me," Gandhi said.

3. Narendra Modi: said that there was lot of disappointment among people over the promises made by the and Prime Minister ahead of the 2014 elections.

4. Congress' decline: When asked about the reason for Congress' decline since the 2014 polls, the former Congress chief said the UPA had been in power for two terms of five years each and definitely there was certain amount of anti-incumbency.

"People felt perhaps they wanted a new person. There were other issues. Also, I think we were out-marketed because we couldn't compete with the manner in which Modi and his party went into elections," she said.

5. Fixing Congress: On lessons learnt from the 2014 debacle, the veteran leader said they will fix the grey areas where the did better. "We have to... It is a challenge. But I am sure we will be able to meet it," she said.

6. Corruption charges on Congress: On corruption as a big factor in the 2014 polls, she said it was "highly exaggerated" against her party.

She referred to the court verdict in the 2G spectrum case in which all the accused were acquitted and to the huge figure of notional loss pegged by the then Comptroller and Auditor General.

"... now everyone realises it was highly exaggerated. Another question we can ask ourselves is -- how come the person who was incharge of that institution was given a cushy job right after his retirement? One must be told about these things," Gandhi said.

ALSO READ: Leader from outside may spearhead Congress in future, hints Sonia Gandhi

7. Induction of young people in Congress: "He (Rahul Gandhi) certainly has always wanted to have younger and new people in the party. If you do not have such people, how is the party going to grow. That is his argument and a very valid one," said.

8. rule: The UPA chairperson said, in rule, an alternative and a regressive vision is being presented in the country and freedom as well as the society face a systematic threat.

"Our country, our society, our freedom are now all under systematic and sustained threat. There is rewriting of history, falsifying facts and fanning prejudice and bigotry," she said.

"Today we are presented with an alternative and indeed regressive vision," Gandhi said.

9. Attack on Constitution: She said the callous remarks about changing the Constitution were deliberate attempts to subvert the essence of India it enshrines.

"Provocative statements from the ruling establishments are not random or accidental but a part of a dangerous design. Alternate voices are being silenced. Freedom to think, marry according to ones wishes is under attack.

10. Religious tension: alleged that religious tensions are being fuelled by the to garner polarise voters.

"Religious tensions are being fuelled, vigilante mobs and private armies have been let loose," she charged.

"Long-standing principles that have stood the country well are being violated. Parliamentary majority is being interpreted as a licence to stifle debate and bulldoze legislation. Political opponents are being targeted through misuse of investigative agencies," she added.

First Published: Sat, March 10 2018. 10:42 IST