New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi while addressing an event in New Delhi on the occasion of 70th birth anniversary of her husband and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on Wednesday, accused the Narendra Modi government of showing "false dreams" to the people of India and urged her Congress party to stay the course even though the road to revival may be "longer" and the struggle, harder.
"We have done so much but our track record was forgotten as people got caught up in a web spun by those who showed nakli sapne (false dreams)," said the Congress president. Sonia Gandhi repeated her charge that the new government was taking credit for the programmes started by the previous Congress-led regime.
Reminding the audience that it was the Congress led UPA that had brought in women friendly laws the Domestic Violence bill, the MNREGA Sonia Gandhi alleged that the present NDA government had attempted to hijack the welfare programmes of the UPA and take credit for it. "Today, those who have come to power, as is their habit, are announcing programmes that were started by us. I want to know who started the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Drive)? Tell me who started building toilets under MNREGA schemes? Who promoted self-help groups in rural women or the ASHA scheme under the National Rural Health Mission? Who did all this?" she questioned.
Sonia Gandhi’s comments are being seen as a direct challenge to PM Modi, who had announced in his Independence Day speech last Friday that his government would focus on making every village a "model village" with toilets in every home. The Congress President also noted that the party had a "long struggle" ahead to recover lost ground. "We will leave no stone unturned to bring back Congress' aan, baan, shaan (pride and glory). Our struggle may be a little longer and may require more hard work but I assure you that we will win back our support base," said Sonia Gandhi.
The Congress president's pep talk comes after the party's epic defeat in the national election three months ago. The Congress was reduced to just 44 seats nationwide - its lowest ever tally since the 1947 Independence - while the BJP rode to power with a massive mandate. "Winning and losing is part of life...the real thing is to stick to our ideology. The Congress has never sacrificed its principles for elections," Sonia Gandhi told party workers.
"Today, we are in the opposition but, the Congress will not withdraw from its commitment to women's reservation and we will build full pressure on the NDA government to pass the bill as soon as possible," she said.