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  • Cong plenary session begins; party president’s term extended

    Published on December 19, 2010

    The 83rd Plenary session of the Congress party began on Sunday with the party chief Sonia Gandhi releasing the 5th edition of the Party’s history.

    Later addressing the gathering she rejected the opposition’s allegations that Congress was soft on terrorism. The Congress president said that terrorism by either majority or minority groups is dangerous.

    Referring to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, Naxal problems in many states and the on going violence by many groups in North Eastern states, she said that talks is the only way forward along with development.

    “We are confronted with terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. In a number of states, Naxalites are using violent methods to undermine the basis of the democratic system. In parts of northeast, militant groups disturb peace,” she said.

    While these elements have to be combated with “all the means at our command, the door of dialogue has to be kept open and the prospect of political accommodation kept alive in the troubled spots,” Gandhi said.

    In J&K, there was a need to address “the alienation of the whole new generation of youth that has known nothing but conflict”.

    At the same time, Gandhi said security forces were facing a difficult situation with courage and fortitude.

    “The political process must get new energy and focus. That is what our government has sought to do by appointing interlocutors,” she said.

    Sonia Gandhi also said that both party and government would not tolerate corruption. She said that the party has asked its leaders including Union ministers and Chief Ministers to resign pending inquiry and challenged the opposition parties to show similar courage.

    Cong president’s term extended to five years

    Meanwhile, Congress has amended its constitution to extend its party president’s term to five years from the current three years.

    An amendment to this effect was passed at the 83rd Congress plenary which began in Burari on the fringes of the national capital.

    The resolution was moved by senior leader Oscar Fernandes and approved by other party leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A K Antony and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, senior ministers and scores of party leaders gathered in Burari, Delhi.

    The amendment comes at a time when Sonia Gandhi is serving as Congress president for the fourth straight term — the longest-serving chief of the 125-year-old party.

    The plenary also marks the completion of the 125 years of Congress, which is the oldest political party in the country.

    The party also amended its constitution to allow holding organisational polls once every five years as against three years at present.

    Another key amendment pertained to meeting of the AICC at least once every year.

    Earlier, the party constitution mandated that AICC should meet “not less than twice” every year.

    The Delhi Plenary is the first such meet of the party after it came to power for the second time along with other UPA partners in the Lok Sabha elections last year.

    The plenary also adopted a condolence resolution mourning the death of some AICC and PCC members.

    Gandhi and Dr. Singh also felicitated freedom fighters for their contribution to the independence struggle.

    Both the leaders came down from the dais to honour the veteran freedom fighters, some of whom broke down as they narrated their struggles to Gandhi and Dr. Singh.