New Delhi: Interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi held a video interaction with the party’s 41 Rajya Sabha MPs Thursday, where she emphasised the need to “corner” the Narendra Modi government on the China issue, ThePrint has learnt.
According to Congress leaders privy to the interaction, Sonia said this can be done by “reminding people of India’s foreign relations during the UPA era”.
“India has totally deviated from its traditional foreign policy in the last 6 years, all our neighbours have turned hostile,” a Congress leader who attended the meeting said.
“So, it was decided that once the Parliament session begins, we need to start cornering the government by talking about the good relations India shared with China and other border nations,” the leader added.
India has been involved in a stand-off with China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh since the first week of May. On 15 June, the tensions led to the deadliest India-China clash in decades as 20 Indian soldiers and an unconfirmed number of Chinese troops died in a skirmish at Galwan Valley.
The two sides began disengagement efforts at the border earlier this month, but the process is said to be proceeding at a slow pace.
Sonia Gandhi had held a similar interaction with the Congress’ Lok Sabha MPs on 11 July, where she had asked the leaders to push for a Parliament session so the LAC issue can be discussed.
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While no date for the Monsoon session been confirmed yet, the session is likely to be held in the first week of September.
‘Take press conferences out of Delhi’
At Thursday’s interaction, Sonia Gandhi also discussed the ongoing crisis in the Rajasthan Congress precipitated by a rebellion mounted by sacked deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and 18 other MLAs.
Sonia, sources said, asked party leaders to take the issue to different states and project it as an “overall democratic crisis”.
“Elections are the foundation of a democracy, and once elected governments are brought down, it is effectively akin to subverting democracy. The urgency of this needs to be communicated to the people,” another leader who attended the video conference said.
“She said this isn’t just a Delhi or Rajasthan issue, but a greater national issue. So, just holding a press conference in Delhi wouldn’t help. State units need to make this a talking point everywhere,” the leader added.
Other issues raised by the Congress president included the coronavirus situation, and how states are tackling it. “Corona and China continue to be the two big issues, so they were discussed at length,” a third leader present at the meeting said.
Former PM Manmohan Singh and former finance minister P. Chidambaram also addressed the MPs. “All the important points have been jotted down. Now, we are just waiting for the Parliament session to begin,” the leader added.
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