Sonia praises Manmohan, Pranab, asks MPs to give all (Lead)

February 25th, 2009 - 6:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) Upholding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his “dignified manner” and minister Pranab Mukherjee for his “dedication”, Congress president Sonia Gandhi Wednesday urged party MPs to work hard to ensure victory in the Lok Sabha elections.
Urging them to put their combined weight behind the party candidates, Gandhi told the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP): “We are often our worst enemies. Let the 2009 elections herald a new beginning of discipline and cohesion. All of us will gain if our party comes back to power.

“It is equally vital that we adopt a fighting position where it may appear that we have a difficult battle.

“Let us face the coming challenge with boldness, confidence and determination to win. Let us give the coming battle our all,” she told the last meeting of the Congress parliamentary party ahead of the general elections expected in April-May.

“A defeatist attitude does not help. Let us remind those who held such an attitude in 2004 how wrong they were,” Gandhi added.

Gandhi reminded the party MPs they are going for national elections and the focus of the party should be national while not ignoring local concerns.

In the meeting, Gandhi lauded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for leading the government in a dignified manner even during testing times.

“Dr Manmohan Singh deserves our special gratitude for the sagacious and dignified manner in which he has led the coalition and upheld our supreme national interest during some very testing times.

“We are sorry to miss Manmohan Singh at this last meeting of the CPP general body, marking the end of the 14th Lok Sabha, but I am glad to say he is expected to soon be with us again,” she said. Manmohan Singh is convalescing after a coronary bypass surgery.

Gandhi also thanked External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee for his “dedication and diligence” and said his experience too commands respect across party lines.

Gandhi said the alliances with like-minded parties in some states would continue.

“We are continuing our pre-poll alliances with like-minded parties in some states. These are on the basis of a common understanding to uphold secular values, fight communal and divisive forces and combine economic growth with the welfare of the aam admi,” she said.

She also said that being in coalition does not in any way dilute the responsibility to strengthen the party organisation everywhere without exception.

Gandhi also criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for unwarranted scenes in parliament.

“In parliament, the BJP, not having reconciled to their defeat, from day one caused unprecedented and unwarranted scenes both on the floor and in the well of the house,” Gandhi said.

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