A warning that Mallikarjun Kharge issued to the Congress leaders and ranks on Sunday underlines the gravity of the crisis: “If you don’t work hard, democracy will perish, constitutional rule will be over.”
While Kharge was exhorting the extended Congress Working Committee (CWC) to gear up for the battles ahead, Rahul Gandhi explained how to go about it: “Avoid irrelevant issues, don’t fall into the BJP’s trap. Listen to the voice of the people and ensure these voices are crystallised into policies and guarantees. That’s how the Congress system is designed.”
The Congress strategy will be evolved on these critical counsels. The election strategy for five states was discussed at the extended CWC meeting on the second day. The party issued a statement after the meeting, exuding confidence about victory in all the states. Kharge asked the workers to ensure outreach to voters aged between 18 and 25 and explain to them the ideology and history of the Congress.
Later, addressing a massive public rally in Hyderabad, the Congress launched six guarantees, telling the voters to trust the party that fulfilled its commitment to create the state of Telangana.
Sonia Gandhi, who was instrumental in creating Telangana, was asked to launch the guarantees. Rahul and Kharge entreated the voters to judge the party on its track record, reminding them how all the guarantees were fulfilled within the first three months in the neighbouring Karnataka.
The guarantees for Telangana are: Rs 2,500 for every woman per month, free bus travel for women across the state, gas cylinder for Rs 500, Rs 5 lakh for every homeless person for construction of a house, Rs 4,000 per month for senior citizens, Rs 10 lakh health insurance for the citizens, Rs 15,000 per acre for farmers every year and Rs 12,000 for agriculture workers.
Rahul spent most of his time at the public rally on trying to convince the people that the BJP, K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s BRS and Asaduddiun Owaisi’s AIMIM have a partnership and work as a team. He recalled how the BRS helped the Narendra Modi government in Parliament and outside on every critical occasion over the last nine years. He said the ED-CBI and income tax, which have been targeting all Opposition leaders, kept aloof even as thousands of crores were looted in Telangana.
He said the new state was not created to empower the KCR family, and his government must be ousted to empower the poor, farmers, workers, women and youth. He accused Owaisi of disturbing the Congress in all states to help the BJP. Amidst loud cheers, he declared: “Nobody can save the KCR government now, not even Modi.”
Kharge also concentrated on explaining to the people how the Congress track record inspires confidence, recalling the nation-building process in the initial decades after Independence and recent schemes like the MGNREGA and the Food Security Act. He said the politics of Modi and KCR rests on lies — both these leaders make false promises to mislead the voters. He said KCR pushed a surplus-budget state into financial bankruptcy.