The Congress held its CWC (Congress Working Committee) meeting on Saturday, the first in 2020, at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi. The party president Sonia Gandhi addressed a range of issues in her opening remarks, from cornering the Centre over Citizenship Amendment Act to the state of the economy to the recent tensions in the Gulf region.
The meeting was attended by former PM Manmohan Singh, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Priyanka Gandhi, among others.
Sonia Gandhi called the CAA "a discriminatory and divisive law" with a "sinister purpose to divide Indians on religious lines".
The opening remarks by Sonia Gandhi at CWC meet: "Thousands of young men and women, especially students, have realized the grave harm the CAA implementation will cause. They have taken to the streets braving the cold as well as the police brutalities. I salute their courage, their abiding faith in the values of the Constitution of India, and their determination to defend and protect those values. We are inspired by their struggle."
Congress Working Committee meeting led by Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi is under way. pic.twitter.com/azdOipCHWU— Congress (@INCIndia) January 11, 2020
'Appalled by police excess during anti-CAA agitation'
The Congress president also declared that the party will stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of India in their struggle for equality, equal protection of laws, justice and dignity. She also noted the instances of violence in states like Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi during the anti-CAA agitation and said that the party is "appalled by the police excesses and use of brute force" in various university campuses and towns.
"We have no faith that either the UP state government or the L-G of Delhi will bring the culprits to justice. We, therefore, demand that a comprehensive high-powered Commission should be constituted to enquire into the incidents connected with the anti-CAA protests and justice to the affected persons."
'NPR 2020 is a disguised NRC'
Sonia Gandhi also took a swipe at the Centre over its "disastrous" exercise of NRC in Assam and said the government has now hit upon the idea of NPR (National Population Register). "In form and content, NPR 2020 is a disguised NRC. As a party in government in several states, we must take a wise and uniform decision on NPR," the statement added.
On the economy
Sonia Gandhi slammed the Narendra Modi government over slowing growth rate and rise in unemployment. "As for the state of the economy, it seems to me that the government has neither the wisdom nor the will to take measures to stop the downslide in the economy which is causing untold misery to practically all sections of society."
Govt makes farcical claims of normalcy in J&K
The Congress chief also raised the prolonged communication shutdown and detention of political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir and said fundamental rights to people there are denied while the government "makes farcical claims of normalcy and arranges guided tours of diplomats". "Former Chief Ministers and senior leaders of mainstream parties continue to be in detention.It is important that the fundamental rights of the citizens are respected and restrictions are lifted."
On tensions in the Gulf
Lastly, Sonia Gandhi noted that the recent outbreak of hostilities between the USA and Iran is a matter of grave concern. "For India, much is at stake – our energy security and the welfare of large Indian diaspora. Any escalation of the conflict will have serious consequences for the region and the world. We hope that the current situation will be diffused."