Congress to undertake membership drive; says will wage ‘ideological battle’ through training programmes



NEW DELHI: The Congress on Tuesday said it will undertake a massive nationwide membership drive starting November 1 and will also wage an “ideological battle” against the “subjugation of democracy” through training programmes.

The party asserted that it will link its membership drive with the “sufferings” of the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, OBCs, minorities and women due to the “cruel policies” of the government and emphasised that the only solution to the problems being faced is to align with its membership campaign.

The Congress made the assertions after a special meeting of general secretaries, in-charges and Pradesh Congress Presidents (PCCs) which was presided over by party president Sonia Gandhi.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi was also present at the meeting and participated in the deliberations.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said it has been resolved by the party to undertake a massive membership drive from November 1, 2021 till March 31, 2022.

He said that it was unanimously agreed that the Congress would reach out to every nook and corner, every ward and village across the country and offer Indians in the remotest parts a platform for their aspirations.

Special emphasis was laid on enrolling first time voters as members of the Indian National Congress, he said.

It was also agreed at the meeting that Congress leaders and workers will especially visit localities and homes of brothers and sisters belonging to the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and backward classes, Surjewala said.

He said Congress leaders will hold interactions with these sections by laying special focus on the steps initiated by the party for their welfare and inclusion.

The party has resolved to take on the enrolment of women as members in mission mode from all sections of society, he said.

The core idea is not just a nationwide outreach to specific sections of youth, women and marginalised but also to bring out the fact that the Congress is the only vehicle to fight the “designed attack on the lives and livelihoods of these sections by the policies of the Modi government”, Surjewala said.

The party will also undertake an ideological training programme to counter the “diabolical and systematic attack” unleashed by the BJP-RSS not only on the Congress ideology but on the core fundamentals of justice, equality and affirmative action enshrined in the Constitution, he said.

“To fight the divisive and abusive behaviour being witnessed — be it on social media or the media being abused for saying the truth, or be it the targeting of a bowler on the basis of his religion, the whole atmosphere of hate, the Congress has decided to wage an ideological battle through training programme,” he said.

Surjewala’s remarks on targeting of a bowler was an obvious reference to India pacer Mohammad Shami, who was subjected to a fierce online attack following the Indian cricket team’s first ever loss to Pakistan in World Cup history.

The meeting expressed concern over the “systematic subjugation of democracy by unconstitutional means and virtually holding every institution captive to the whims and caprices of the ruling elite”, he said.

The meeting noted that every party functionary, from ordinary Congress workers to the senior-most Congress leader, would need to take on this fight based on the core of the Congress ideology and the founding principles of India, he said.

AICC office bearers and the Pradesh Congress Committee presidents agreed to undertake issue and policy-based training programmes to counter the “vicious propaganda, lies and malicious campaigns unleashed by the ruling regime, both by word of mouth and through social media”, a party statement said.

“Their perverted attempt at rewriting India’s founding principles endangers both, the core of our democracy and polity and we must fight it in the national interest,” it said.

The Congress will hold a massive agitation on inflation called ‘Jan Jagran Abhiyan’ from November 14-29, Surjewala said, adding that this will be the first phase and an announcement about the next phase will be made later.

He said that all those present unanimously reiterated the party’s resolve to “fight the sinister attack on the agriculture sector and millions of farmers, the grave unrest on account of unprecedented unemployment, the debilitating attack on people’s budget by unpardonable increase in prices of petrol, diesel, cooking gas, cooking oil, building material and every household item”.

“The sorry state of our economy bordering on collapse and an impending economic recession is made all the more worrying as the Modi government remains clueless and directionless on correcting the economic downturn,” the party said.

The net result of its policies is that a handful of crony capitalists continue to grow their wealth by several crores every day while small businesses, MSME’s, marginal shopkeepers and entrepreneurs become victims of their greed losing their hope, savings and livelihoods, the Congress alleged It was recognised at the meeting that the soul and values of India are under a sustained and unrelenting attack by the “vitriolic and divisive agenda” of the BJP/RSS, the party said.

Surjewala said a responsibility lies on the shoulders of the Congress to rebuild the bonds of brotherhood and fraternity embodied in the idea of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.

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