The results in Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, where the Congress faced a crushing defeat, were “disappointing” but the party is not “dispirited and certainly not dejected,” Congress General Secretary (Communication) Jairam Ramesh said, briefing reporters on the party’s Parliamentary strategy group meeting on Monday evening.
He also informed that the party will strongly oppose the three bills seeking to replace the existing criminal justice system, alleging that the legislation was bulldozed through the standing committee without any “meaningful discussions or consultations”. The party has also demanded a debate on the “current economic situation” and the “challenges to our foreign policy - especially the border situation.”
During the discussion on various topics that the party could take up, the issue of targeting/killing of Indian fugitives on foreign soil came up. While Lok Sabha Manish Tewari is said to argued that such moves have public support, Ms. Gandhi differed and said it violated law of the land.
Party’s Parliamentary Strategy Group meeting was chaired by Congress Parliamentary Party leader Sonia Gandhi, on the first day of the winter session and a day after the results of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan were announced. Speaking on the results, Mr. Ramesh said that it fell far short of the party’s expectations but described it as a “temporary setback”. “The results were certainly disappointing but we are not dispirited and certainly not dejected. We accept the verdict and are analysing it in detail. Our resolve to fight even harder remains undiminished and we will fight even harder,” he added. Congress, he said, is conscious that only a short time is left for the Lok Sabha elections. “We will be preparing in all earnestness, rigor and with determination. This was the message of today’s meeting,” Mr. Ramesh averred.
Mr. Ramesh said that the party has been asking for debate on the economic situation and the border situation in several previous Parliament sessions but the government has not been willing to hold it. “We will seek a short duration discussion on the current economic situation on price rise, unemployment, growing income inequalities and regional disparities. Current foreign policy challenges and the situation in borders. We have been asking for these debates in the previous sessions, but the government has not been willing. We hope that since last session, the government will come forward and agree to the demand,” Mr. Ramesh stated.
Though the party has decided to participate in the 15-hour-long debate on the three bills seeking to replace the criminal laws, Congress will lodge its strong protest. “The bills were bulldozed through the standing committee, where our members that including P. Chidambaram and Digvijay Singh gave detailed dissent notes. We will express our views strongly and our opposition is based on substantive grounds since no meaningful discussions and consultation took place when this bill was presented before the standing committee,” Mr. Ramesh said.