09/08/2015, 00.00
INDIA
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Sonia Gandhi: Modi government only pays "lip service"

Meeting of the Congress Working Committee, decision-making body of the Congress Party. Presidency of Sonia Gandhi and vice presidency of her Rahul expected to be confirmed. Renewal of the party after the 2014election defeat. Criticism of "anti-farmer" law and Hindu nationalist drift of BJP.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) – “It has become painfully clear that most of the promises by PM during poll campaign were nothing more than lip service (hawa Baazi). The Modi Government has failed abysmally to match words with deeds, to match media events with actual accomplishments, to match headlines with substance".  These were the scathing words of Sonia Gandhi this morning at the opening session of the Congress Working Committee (CWC, see. photo), the decision-making body of the Indian National Congress Party, meeting in the Indian capital to discuss the renewal of the leadership, the party's organizational structure and representation nationwide.

Sonia Gandhi has led the Congress Party for 17 years (since 1998) and is the longest running party leader. According to local press, members of the CWC will reconfirm her presidency for another year [her term is expected to end in 2015, ed] .  Members are also expected to reconfirm her son Rahul to the Vice-presidency, thus making his political succession more problematic.  The 45 year old, according to some, wants to renew the party after the election defeat last year, which brought the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party, the Hindu nationalist party) and Modi to government.

The President had harsh words for the Union government, which "with slogans such as Make in India has promised to create new jobs. The reality is that the economy is in decline, "as shown by the figures for the quarter from April to June 2015. The slowdown in growth and the reform of labor law brought last week about 150 million workers to take to the streets and implement a 24 hours general strike.

The Congress leader also spoke of the unresolved issue of land disputes with Pakistan, which is creatig a climate of continued political instability and is rekindling heated controversy in recent days with the "threat" launched by the Pakistani army chief that they will "respond adequately to all types of foreign and domestic threats”.

Sonia Gandhi spoke at length against the Land Acquisition Bill [a series of amendments modifying the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 - LARR Act 2013, ed], which has facilitated the expropriation of land of poor farmers by large companies. "all like-minded political parties  and all members of the  civil society who joined hands with us in this fight.  It goes without saying that lakhs of farmers across the country  tirelessly demonstrated and agitated against this Ordinance.  Even today they are under great distress  because of excess rain or drought conditions, yet no adequate relief has reached them thanks to the Modi-government’s insensitivity to their plight left on their own even in this time of severe drought or excessive rains”.

The leader gave one last thought to the fundamentalist drift of the governing party BJP, "controlled directly by radical Hindus of the RSS [Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh, Hindu ultra-nationalist paramilitary group - ed]. The country last week was given clear evidence of what has been obvious for a long time"[the reference is to the meeting of the members of the Sangh Parivar, which was also attended by prominent Union ministers of - ed.]

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