Hyderabad | Gearing up for the upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha polls, the Congress on Saturday made a strong pitch for social justice and resolved to make the INDIA bloc an "ideological and electoral success" to free the country from "divisive politics".
After about five hours of deliberations at the first meeting of the reconstituted Congress Working Committee, the party also called for the passage of the women's reservation bill in the upcoming special session of Parliament, conducting a caste census and increasing the limit of reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs.
The resolution also rejected the idea of "one nation, one election", calling it an attack on the federal structure.
The CWC, in a resolution adopted unanimously, also reiterated the Congress' demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Adani issue and rejected any move to change the Constitution of the country.
This was the first meeting of the CWC which was reconstituted by party chief Mallikarjun Kharge on August 20. This is also after years that the CWC has met outside of Delhi, a move seen as an attempt to consolidate the support base in poll-bound Telangana and go all out to oust the BRS from power in the state.
The CWC "wholeheartedly" welcomed the continuing consolidation of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) claiming it has already rattled Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.
"The CWC reiterates the Congress party's resolve to make the INDIA initiative an ideological and electoral success so that our country is freed from divisive and polarising politics, the forces of social equity and justice
are strengthened, and the people get a Union Government that is responsible, responsive, sensitive, transparent and accountable," the resolution read.
The CWC also demanded that the women's reservation bill be passed during the special session, beginning Monday.
"The CWC also calls for increasing the existing upper limit of reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs," the resolution said.
Expressing grave concern at rising unemployment and rise in prices, it said Prime Minister Modi's so-called Rozgar Melas are a "hoax to cover up the abject failure" to create, as promised, two crore jobs a year.
"The failure to conduct the decennial Census, due in 2021, is a national and an international shame," the party said in its resolution.
"The CWC also underlines the stubborn refusal of the Modi government to conduct a Caste Census," the resolution said, adding that this refusal in the face of a universal demand has exposed the BJP's lack of commitment to social and economic justice and its bias against backward classes, Dalits and tribal people.
The CWC also summarily rejected any call for a new Constitution and termed the argument that the basic structure of the Constitution can be changed as "mischievous".
The Modi government's "assault on the Constitution" must be condemned and resisted by all democratic forces to safeguard the foundational ideas of the Constitution drafted by B R Ambedkar and his compatriots, the party resolution said.
The CWC also alleged that the Modi government has systematically undermined federalism through overriding legislation, reduction in the states' share of tax revenues, misuse of the office of governor, creating roadblocks in implementing schemes and programmes in Opposition-governed states.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Kharge claimed that the country is facing "serious internal challenges" and alleged that the BJP was "adding fuel to the fire" to flare up incidents of violence like in Manipur and Haryana that tarnish the image of a progressive and secular India.
Kharge also referred to the upcoming special session of Parliament to caution party workers of the government's "intentions" and alleged that "it wants a Parliament without the opposition".
He also said the party demands an immediate start of the 2021 Census process along with a caste census to ensure that rights of deprived sections of society are safeguarded.
"Today, the country is facing many serious internal challenges. The whole world witnessed the heart-wrenching incidents in Manipur. The Modi government ensured that the fire of Manipur violence reached Nuh in Haryana. Due to incidents of violence there, communal tension spread in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi," Kharge alleged.
"These incidents tarnish the image of modern, progressive and secular India. In these circumstances, the ruling party, communal organisations and a section of the media are adding fuel to the fire. It destroys the secular fabric of the country. We have to together identify and expose such forces," the Congress chief asserted.
Briefing reporters on the deliberations at the CWC, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said if the BJP puts forward the mirage of "one nation, one election" it is only to divert attention from the pressing issues and to create a false narrative.
He also accused the government of "complete failure" on the political, economic and national security fronts and claimed there is a challenge to the constitutional and federal structure of the country under the BJP.
The CWC resolution also noted that parliamentary debate and scrutiny "have all but disappeared" and far-reaching legislations are hurriedly pushed through without proper scrutiny and discussion.
"The Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment etc) Bill introduced in Parliament will severely compromise the independence of the Election Commission to conduct free and fair elections," the party claimed.
The CWC also unequivocally condemned the incursions by China into Indian-held territory and the repeated provocations like publishing maps that include Arunachal Pradesh and other parts of India.
It also blamed the Prime Minister's "clean chit" to China on June 19, 2020 and alleged that his continued refusal to admit the loss of territory have misled the country, belittled the sacrifices of our jawans, and emboldened China to continue with its transgressions.
"The CWC calls upon the government to come clean on the border dispute with China and take a resolute stand against any challenge to the territorial integrity of India," the resolution said.
Talking about social harmony, the party resolution said the CWC stands with people for communal harmony, social and economic fraternity, fulfilment of the aspirations of youth, and for a strong, proud and respected nation enjoying an honoured place in the international community.
"The CWC pledges to restore a nation of which every Indian, irrespective of caste or religion, whether rich or poor, young or old, can be proud," the resolution said.
Top Congress leaders, including Kharge, former party chiefs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah, participated in the discussion at the new CWC meet focusing on preparing a comprehensive road map for ensuring the party's victory in the upcoming assembly polls in five states and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other senior leaders including K C Venugopal, P Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh and new young members also participated in the discussions.
The CWC meeting began around 3 pm, soon after the unfurling of the party flag at the Taj Krishna Hotel here.
The deliberations would continue on Sunday during the extended working committee session with a focus on the strategy for upcoming assembly polls in five states and the Lok Sabha elections.