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Sonia Gandhi tells Congressmen not to indulge in blaming each other in public

Saturday, 24 May 2014 - 9:17pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Sonia Gandhi was on Friday re-elected Chairperson of Congress Parliamentary Party and asked partymen not to bicker in public amid a fierce blamegame in the party over its worst electoral defeat which has seen Team Rahul Gandhi coming under attack from a number of leaders.

Addressing a meeting of CPP, she acknowledged there was "widespread anger against us which we failed to adequately gauge" and said "we have to individually and collectively draw the appropriate lessons from this unprecedented setback".

A resolution passed by the CPP reached out to "progressive and secular forces" to present a united opposition and assured other like-minded parties that Congress will extend its cooperation in this regard.

The resolution came at a time when Narendra Modi-led BJP is set to assume power as the only party in the last 30 years to achieve parliamentary majority on its own and Congress' tally of seats stands reduced to just 44.

The Congress chief, who was made the CPP chief for the fifth time in a row since 1998, asked partymen to avoid "public acrimony" saying their inputs, experience and assessment of the party's strengths and weaknesses "rather than public acrimony" will be critical to the exercise to draw the right lessons to put the party back on the rail.

Rahul Gandhi, the Congress Vice President, was seated on one of the back benches in the Central Hall of Parliament where the CPP meeting took place.

Sonia asked partymen to understand why they failed to to gauge the anger of the people against the party and "take necessary corrective measures".

She said while all party MPs are "pained" about the defeat suffered by Congress and flagged the need to reflect, deliberate and debate more.

Asking the partynmen to take strength from the fact that Congress came second with 10.69 crore votes compared to BJP's 17.16 crore votes, Sonia said "what we have to do now is to work hard to recapture the larger support base that Congress has traditionally enjoyed."

The resolution passed at the CPP meeting said it expresses the hope that "all progressive and secular forces in Parliament will coordinate their strategies effectively so as to present a united and cohesive opposition which is the life-blood of any democracy.

Sonia Gandhi's name for CPP head was proposed by senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge and seconded by several leaders including Mohsina Kidwai.

Gandhi was first elected as CPP Chairperson on March 16, 1998, at a time when she was not a member of either House of Parliament but had assumed the leadership of Congress after Sitaram Kesri was forced to quit in the wake of the party's defeat in the general elections.

The CPP meeting on Saturday greeted and offered its good wishes to the incoming government led by Modi and placed on record its apprecication of the "yeoman services rendered to the country by Manmohan Singh who provided wise, sober and dignified leadership for a decade".

After the CWC rejected the offer of resignations of Sonia and Rahul, the CPP said it was "grateful" to them for their "indefatigable" election campaigns across the country.

"Electoral setbacks cannot obscure their contributions and the CPP resolves to regroup, rebuild and revive under their leadership and regain the confidence and support of the people," it said.

The Congress President squarely blamed BJP for "failing" to give support to the government in the last Lok Sabha to pass several crucial bills.

"I regret to say that the UPA-II government did not get the support of the principal opposition party in passing crucial legislations. In fact, the opposition to some bills was not based on any principle and argument but simply on cussedness and outright political opportunism. " She also recalled that BJP had propounded the "infamous" theory that "obstructing Parliament is a legitimate Parliamentary device".

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