Rahul vows to make Congress a 'grand old and young party'

ANI | Updated: Dec 16, 2017 14:57 IST

New Delhi [India] Dec 16 (ANI): Newly elected party President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday vowed to make Congress a 'grand old and young party'.

In his first address as the Congress President at the party headquarters here, Rahul lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and said only the Congress can stop what the BJP is doing to this country.

"Once fire breaks out it is difficult to douse it, that is what we are telling the people of BJP that if you set the nation on fire it will be difficult to control. Today, the BJP has spread the fire of violence across the country. And if there is anyone who can stop what the BJP is doing, it is the 'pyara karyakarta & neta' (leader and workers) of Congress. We are going to make Congress, grand old and young party. We will fight the politics of anger," Rahul said while inviting all youth to come forward and create a united India.

The Congress President trained guns at Prime Minister Modi and said, "Congress took India to 21st century, but the prime minister today is taking us back to the medieval times. We are now being compelled to imagine that businesses can be built without harmony and that only one man himself is the voice of reason. Expertise, experience and knowledge can be cast aside for personal glory."

Continuing his attack on the BJP and the Prime Minister, Rahul said many people are disillusioned by today's politics as it is being used to crush people.

"I joined politics 13 years ago because of my profound belief in this country, its people and its path ahead. However, many of us are disillusioned by the politics of our times. Today, politics is devoid of kindness and truth. Politics belongs to the people, but today politics is not being used for people. It is not being used to uplift people, but to crush them," Rahul said.

Continuing his tirade against the ruling party, the Congress President said, "We consider the BJP as our brothers and sisters, but we do not agree with them. They (BJP) crush voices but we allow them to speak; they defame, we respect and defend."

The Gandhi scion said the BJP is fighting for self while the Congress serves the community.

"The Congress is an ancient idea. The BJP would have you believe they are oldest idea in the universe, as usual this is not the truth. In India, there are two ideas that have clashed: idea of self versus the other. The BJP is like soldiers fighting for self, but the Congress is guided by service of community," Rahul asserted.

In his concluding remarks, Rahul said, "It is with deepest humility that I accept this position knowing that I will always be walking in the shadow of giants."

Earlier, outgoing President Sonia Gandhi too criticised the Prime Minister Modi led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government for attacking the Constitutional values.

"Since 2014 we have been playing the role of opposition, but the challenge that we face today is the biggest one that our constitutional values are being attacked," Sonia said.

She said though the Congress has lost many elections in the recent past but it will never bow down.

Talking about Rahul, Sonia said personal attacks on her son have made him a strong person.

"Rahul is my son so it is not right for me to praise him, but I would say that since childhood he had to bear the brunt of violence. After joining politics, he had to face blatant personal attacks that have made him a stronger person," Sonia said.

In his address, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh expressed hope that under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi the Congress party will scale new heights.

He also made a veiled attack on the BJP and Prime Minister Modi by saying that Rahul has taken over reins of the Congress at a time when there are certain disturbing trends noticeable in today's politics.

Earlier in the day, the 47-year-old, Rahul was given the certificate of Congress president by Mullappally Ramachandran, the chairman of the party's central election authority, in a ceremony held at the party's 24 Akbar Road headquarters here.

Apart from senior Congress leaders, Rahul's sister Priyanka Gandhi and brother-in-law Robert Vadra were also present on the occasion. (ANI)

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