The Congress party Tuesday attacked the Rashtriya Swayamsewak
Sangh (RSS) for its "involvement in terrorist activities" but
studiously avoided all reference to two raging controversies - the
Adarsh housing society scam and the corruption in the Commonwealth
Games - at its special All India Congress Committee (AICC) meet
The AICC meet was addressed by party chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh, general secretary Rahul Gandhi and other
Congress leaders and attended by around 1,200 delegates.
"Recent investigations indicate the involvement of RSS members in
terrorist organisations," a statement read out by Finance Minister
Pranab Mukherjee and approved amidst applause, said.
"Revelations through detailed investigations have exposed the true
character of the RSS and its sister organisations. Communal and
terrorist elements, whichever source they may originate from, that
aim at destroying our national fabric will be fought at any cost,"
the statement added.
In her address, Gandhi said: "The broader message for all of us is
that our fight against communalism of all kinds, against
fanaticism of all types, has to continue unabated."
"This is a political struggle, a struggle for a secular India. The
abuse of religion to inflame passion, stoke prejudice and polarise
our society will be forcefully resisted by our party and
government," she added.
Regarding the Adarsh scam, not a single word was mentioned by the
leaders, including Pranab Mukherjee, the head of the party probe
panel into the scandal.
In fact, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan whose role in the
Adarsh housing scam is being probed by a two-member Congress
panel, was seated on the dais. Party MP Suresh Kalmadi, facing
allegations of corruption in the organisation of the Commonwealth
Games, was seated in the front row.
When a former chief minister of Orissa, Hemanand Biswal, mentioned
about the Commonwealth Games, there was expectation that he would
touch upon the corruption issue. But Biswal limited his references
to the demand for reservation for tribals in Delhi, who had worked
for the Games projects in the national Capital.
The AICC meeting was convened Tuesday to fulfil the party's
constitutional obligation to elect members to the party working
committee, the party's highest decision-making body.
The meeting unanimously authorized Sonia Gandhi to nominate the
CWC members and other office-bearers.
Since Sonia Gandhi became president of the party in 1998,
elections to CWC have not been held.
In her inaugural remarks, Sonia Gandhi emphasized that the
Congress respects its coalition partners in states but would also
attempt to gain strength on its own and keep its "political
"The party is in coalition in some states. We respect coalitions
but that does not mean we will not work to gain strength or that
we will leave our political space," she said.
Pointing out that 10 states will go to assembly polls in next two
years, Gandhi said the party has to work with dedication and unity
for its victory in the polls.
Without mentioning Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, she
praised his efforts at democratising the working of the Youth
Congress and the National Students Union of India (NSUI).
Expressing concern over rising prices, Gandhi said the prices of
food items needed to be brought down further and the
responsibility for doing so also lay with the states.
Referring to opposition-ruled states, she said they have as much
responsibility to check prices as the central government.
On the Allahabad High Court verdict on the Ayodhya dispute, she
said it did not condone the demolition of the Babri Masjid and
added that the perpetrators must be "brought to justice".
In his address, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the United
Progressive Alliance (UPA) government will always try to ensure
that economic development reaches the poorer and weaker sections
"We want an economic development which is equitable," he said,
adding that the Congress-led UPA had in the last six and half
years always looked after the welfare of the "aam aadmi (ordinary
people)", he said.
He praised the Congress president for her "dynamic" leadership.
Rahul Gandhi, who participated in the debate on the statement
adopted at the meeting, said the empowerment of the poor will take
the country forward and his party was striving to bridge the gap
between those getting prosperous and those lagging behind.
Soon after the AICC session, Congress general secretary Digvijay
Singh said the issues of corruption and scandals were not
mentioned in the speeches and deliberations as it "was not in the
"Not that corruption is not a major issue," Singh added.