Former Congress president and chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party Sonia Gandhi on Friday expressed confidence of her party returning to power in 2019, saying that the ‘acche din’ campaign of the BJP would turn out to be like ‘India Shining’ in 2019.
“I am confident that BJP’s ache din campaign will go the Shining India route that brought us to power in 2004. We are going to come back. We are not going to let them (BJP) come back to power,” Sonia said at the India Today conclave here.
Asked about the dismal performance of the Congress in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi admitted that her party was ‘out marketed’ by the BJP.
Gandhi said the Congress needs to find new ways to connect with people.
Asked if she had any suggestions for the Congress and its present chief Rahul Gandhi, she said, “Our party needs to develop new ways to connect with people. We have to look how we project our programmes and policies the way BJP did.”
While she admitted that corruption was there during the UPA regime, Gandhi, however, added that it was highly exaggerated like the 2G scam.
Earlier, in a scathing critique of the National Democratic Alliance led-Centre, Gandhi said the freedom of expression of people was under ‘systematic and sustained assault’ and that there was a attempt to ‘refashion the very idea of India.’
“Our society, our freedom all are now under systematic and sustained assault. Make no mistake about it. This is a well thought out project long in the making to refashion the very idea of India. The freedom to think for oneself and differ and degree and to meet or marry according to one’s wishes all this and more are under attack.”
Referring to controversial comments by members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, she said, “Provocative statements from the ruling establishment are not random or accidental. They are part of a dangerous design.”
She said callous remarks were made about changing the Constitution of the nation that pointed to a deliberate attempt to subvert the very essence of India.
“Parliamentary majority is being interpreted as a licence to stifle debate. Our freedoms are under attack. Our people are increasingly impatient,” Gandhi said.
“It is not in my nature to be a voice of gloom and doom but we need to see things the way they are. The evidence of this new and deeply troubling direction is there for every one to see. Fear and intimidation are the order of the day, alternative voices are being silenced, in far too many cases through violence and even murder,” she said.
Accusing the ruling BJP of polarisation of society with an eye on winning elections, Ms Gandhi added that religious tensions were also being fuelled.
In a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his frequent coining of acronyms in the name of schemes and government programmes, Gandhi said to laughter from the audience, ‘We need to move fast, but fast. F.A.S.T. cannot stand for First Act, Second Think. Acronymising can be contagious.’