New Delhi: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi Friday sounded the bugle for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls by unveiling his five-point agenda to curb corruption and price rise – two issues that hit the party in the recent assembly polls – after a brainstorming session with senior leaders.
“Corruption and price rise are the main issues,” Gandhi told the media after the seven-hour-long meeting with the leaders and 11 chief ministers here.
The Congress, said Gandhi, “is serious about fighting corruption” and urged the opposition to help the government pass the anti-graft bills pending in parliament.
“It’s about a system. The Congress party is serious about it (fighting corruption). Let us have a session and pass the (pending) bills together,” Gandhi said.
“But there is silence from the other side,” he said referring to the opposition parties, especially the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), adding: “We are blocked in parliament again and again.”
The BJP quickly responded, saying Congress MPs instead disrupt the house.
“Rahulji, Congress MPs were bringing no-confidence motion and disrupting the house. Don’t blame others for non-cooperation,” a BJP spokesperson told reporters.
Gandhi highlighted that the Lokpal bill, passed by parliament recently to deal with corruption in high places, needed to be supported with other laws. “The Lokpal bill is one step. If we want to fight corruption, we need a framework not only at the national level but also at the state level,” he said.
“All Congress-ruled states will have a new Lokayukta before Feb 28,” Congress general secretary Ajay Maken said.
Gandhi also said the report on Adarsh housing society allotments should be reconsidered by the Maharashtra cabinet.
“I think Adarsh (report) should be reconsidered,” he said, responding to a question.
The Congress-led Maharashtra government being run in alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party last Friday tabled a report on alleged Adarsh Society scam in the state assembly and then rejected it.
“As far as corruption is concerned there is no question of protecting any one,” Gandhi said.
This was the first major brainstorming after the party was routed in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi. It lost to BJP narrowly in Chhattisgarh and won in Mizoram.
Maken further said that to deal with hoarding of essential commodities, the Congress governments in states will delist fruits and vegetables from the Agriculture Produce Market Committee Act by Jan 15.
This will allow farmers to directly sell their produce and help lower prices for consumers.
Also, all Congress chief ministers will implement Essential Services Maintenance Act to curb hoarding, black marketing and profiteering of food items.
The party also directed its chief ministers to implement the public distribution system to ensure that subsidised grains reach the targeted beneficiaries.
They will also have to open fair price shops to sell fruits, vegetables and eggs at affordable prices.