On the occasion of the 130th Foundation Day of Indian National Congress, I made an attempt to understand the Idea of Congress. I read the Constitution of the Party and its recent plenary resolutions. What I could learn from these sources were disseminated through twenty six tweets, during the day. These ideas remain most powerful and most suited for a country like India. Congress should strive towards strengthening these ideas rather than worrying about winning or losing an election here and there. For a political party, power (or lack of it) should not be a constraint in fulfilling its basic roles and propagating its ideology.
Here are the twenty six tweets that captures the Idea of Congress, as I understand it from the official documents of the Party:
1. India’s unity, integrity, secular polity and democratic federalism.
2. Being mindful of the special obligations to all poor and weaker sections of the people!
3. Setting direction of the economy of the country, especially at critical turning points in its history.
4. Facing the challenges thrown up by undemocratic, divisive & exclusionary political & social formations.
5. Secularism, nationalism, social justice, social cohesion, and economic growth for all
6. The fundamental need to give a sense of security to every Indian – to him/her, to his/her family & to his/her community
7. Commitment to the principles of economic growth and social justice based on an inclusive growth model.
8. Unequivocally committed to India’s ‘middle-ground’, speaking for the vast majority of the people, and fighting against fringe elements
9. Committed to science, modern technology, inclusive innovation and job-creating growth for the youth of India.
10. Balancing the aspirations of both young middle class India and the young deprived India
11. Accepting people’s verdict with humility and making necessary changes to maintain/regain their trust.
12. Firm commitment for empowerment of the weaker sections of society.
13. Fighting corruption at all levels through systemic changes. #Lokpal #RTI
14. Protecting the environment from the greed of cronies, through sustainable development.
15. India’s biggest socio-economic challenge is to ensure inclusive growth with jobs, to reduce inequality.
16. Time bound redressal of public grievances at the grassroots level through legislative initiatives
17. Empowering local bodies with regard to implementation of government schemes and public services. #PanchayatiRaj
18. Committed to a rights-based approach to legislation! #MNREGA #FSA #Empowerment
19. Committed to labour welfare through minimum wages, social security benefits, safety, and fair labour practices
20. Committed to eliminating middlemen in welfare through direct benefits transfer, “Aapka Paisa, Aapke Haath”
21. Will you ever expect Modi to implement an empowering scheme like RTI? That is what #IdeaOfCongress can do for India.
22. Taking India to the 3rd largest economy through appropriate economic policies (and not dogmas) at appropriate times.
23. #IdeaOfCongress will not appeal to those who object Food Subsidy to the poorest while enjoying subsidy on LPG!
24. Laugh when I say #IdeaOfCongress made #Lokpal possible. Yet, forget demanding, you don't even expect Modi Govt to implement the Lokpal Act!
25. #IdeaOfCongress means the first right of every citizen to India’s resources, irrespective of his/her religion/caste/community/political affiliations!
26. Aberrations do happen when the history is as long as 130 yrs! #IdeaOfCongress cannot be faulted for the aberrations. Correction is the need
I am fully aware that Congress party and/or Congress leaders may have deviated from the ideas of Congress. When you have a history of 130 years, it is only natural that there will be some aberrations. As the twenty-sixth tweet suggests, aberrations do not invalidate the ideas. It only calls for corrections. Therefore, the fundamental ideas constitute a guiding light, for the Party to assume its original role. When I say the original role, it is not occupying the chair of power but ensuring the rights and welfare of all the segments of Indian people. It is the duty of Congress workers and leaders to ensure adherence to the basic ideas.