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Cong’s fightback plan ready
Will push for probe into ‘terror’ links of right-wing bodies; plenary begins
Anita Katyal
Our Political Correspondent

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and RK Dhawan. Rahul said he would speak on WikiLeaks issue on Sunday.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and RK Dhawan. Rahul said he would speak on WikiLeaks issue on Sunday. Tribune photo/AFP

New Delhi, December 18
A day after an embarrassed Congress struggled to respond to the latest WikiLeaks revelations that party general secretary Rahul Gandhi had told the US Ambassador that radicalised Hindu groups were a more serious threat than Pakistan-abetted terror, its leadership is all set to turn the heat on the BJP by accusing the RSS-affiliated organisations of instigating terror activities.

The counteroffensive against the Opposition will be reflected in the speeches and the political resolution to be debated at the two-day Congress plenary beginning here tomorrow. Coping with allegations of corruption and involvement in scams, the Congress will instead ask the government to probe the alleged terror links of the RSS and its sister organisations.

Rahul Gandhi, whose remarks on Hindu terror groups have come in for scathing criticism from an angry BJP, is also expected to respond to their charges at the plenary tomorrow. “I will speak tomorrow”, he told mediapersons in the midst of the day-long meeting of the party’s subjects committee called today to finalise the four resolutions which are to be discussed and adopted at the open plenary over the next two days. Over 20,000 party delegates have congregated on the outskirts of Delhi at Burari to participate in the session.

The plenary is an occasion for the party leadership to lay down the roadmap for the future and also to get a feedback from the states on the health of the organisation and the grievances of workers.

With a resurgent Opposition attacking the Congress on the issue of corruption, the plenary will focus on how best it can counter these charges and also lay down a strategy for the upcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Kerala. The Congress is a junior partner of the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and plays second fiddle to the DMK in Tamil Nadu.

The session will open tomorrow with the Congress president’s speech, which will set the tone for the subsequent deliberations. This will be followed by a debate on the political resolution and on 125 years of the Congress. The resolution on foreign affairs and economy will be taken up for discussion on Monday.

The strategy to go on the offensive against the BJP and the RSS was firmed up today during discussions on the resolutions. However, in deference to its West Bengal and Kerala leaders, who are headed for Assembly polls, the Left will also come under sharp attack in the resolutions. That the BJP will remain its prime target was evident from the references to the main opposition party in the Babri Masjid, While the draft resolution described it as an act of vandalism, it was changed to read as “a criminal act” following a suggestion from Rahul Gandhi.

Senior leader Arjun Singh pointed out that the political resolution must reiterate the Parliament stand that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India as the draft lacked clarity on this point.

The resolutions on economy and foreign affairs also generated considerable discussion. While reiterating the party’s emphasis on “aam admi” and “inclusive growth”, Rahul suggested that the final version should speak against forcible land acquisition. Mani Shankar Aiyar and Ghulam Nabi Azad pointed to the omission of India’s support for Palestine in the resolution on foreign affairs. The Congress president subsequently asked Aiyar to draft a para on this issue for inclusion in the final resolution.





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