Discussions on Assembly poll defeats soon: Cong leader Jairam Ramesh

Ramesh said "We will fight the Lok Sabha polls strongly and start preparing for it", adding that party chief Mallikarjun Kharge has called an informal meeting of like-minded political parties on December 6

New Delhi: The Congress on Monday said the Assembly poll outcome in three states has been disappointing, but the party is not dejected and will soon hold deliberations to analyse it and prepare for the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

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After a meeting of the party’s parliamentary strategy group, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the election results in Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan have certainly been disappointing, but the party has not lost hope and will emerge stronger after introspection.

“The results in the Assembly elections are certainly disappointing but we are not dis-spirited and certainly not dejected. Our resolve is strong.

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“We accept the verdict. It fell far below our expectations and we are analysing these results in detail. But our resolve remains undiminished. We will fight even harder. This is a temporary setback, but it only strengthens our resolve,” he told reporters.

Ramesh said “We will fight the Lok Sabha polls strongly and start preparing for it”, adding that party chief Mallikarjun Kharge has called an informal meeting of like-minded political parties on December 6.

Addressing the media after the parliamentary strategy group meeting, which was convened by Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi at her residence on Monday evening, Ramesh said the party will participate in the discussions on key bills that the government introduces during the Winter Session of Parliament and raise its concerns.

He said the party will soon form its government in Telangana and fulfil the role of a responsible opposition in the three states where it lost elections.

“We will certainly hold discussions on the poll results and delve into the reasons for this kind of results. We will not just look behind but look forward too and we are preparing for the (2024) Lok Sabha election,” Ramesh said.

“The Congress party is conscious of the fact that the time before the Lok Sabha election is very short and we will be preparing in all earnest, with vigour and determination, and this temporary setback will only strengthen our resolve and that was the message of the CPP chairperson,” the former Union minister said, adding that the analysis would be done in the next few days.

Describing three bills seeking to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and Evidence Act as “dangerous ones”, he said the Congress will oppose those strongly in Parliament as a proper discussion was held on the proposed legislations during the meetings of the standing committee looking into those.

Ramesh said it will also oppose a Bill on the appointment of the chief election commissioner (CEC) and election commissioners in Parliament.

He said Monday’s meeting was attended by Kharge and several party MPs from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

“All of us will participate in the debates on the various bills proposed by the government and raise our objections and concerns. We are against some bills, especially those seeking to replace the IPC, CrPC and Evidence Act, because those are very dangerous and our MPs have raised concerns and given dissent notes too.

“We will certainly oppose these three bills as well as the CEC Bill,” Ramesh said.

He said 15 hours have been allocated for discussions on these three bills in the Rajya Sabha.

The three bills to replace the IPC, CrPC and Evidence Act had gone to the standing committee, he pointed out, alleging that the bills were “bulldozed” in the committee and the Congress MPs had given dissent notes.

“We will express our views very strongly and oppose these bills. Our opposition is based on substantive grounds as no meaningful discussion took place when these bills were pending before the standing committee. The report was a pre-cooked one and the panel did not meet all stakeholders during the three months when the bills were before it,” Ramesh said.

He said Congress MPs have demanded deliberations on the current economic situation, rising inflation and unemployment and growing economic and regional inequalities in the country and hoped that the government would accede to the request and hold a short-duration discussion on this soon.

“We also raised concerns during previous sessions and want a discussion on the border and security situation as this is the last session of Parliament.

“We also seek to raise issues concerning the environment as we saw what happened in Uttarakhand recently. We want the government to allocate time for a discussion on this and how environment laws were weakened and ignored,” the Congress leader said.

He said some MPs also raised the issue of ethnic strife-torn Manipur and added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should break his silence on the situation in the northeastern state.

The situation in Manipur is still serious and it is important that there should be a discussion on this in both houses, Ramesh said, adding that deliberations on the current foreign policy challenges should also be held.

Congress leaders K C Venugopal, Randeep Surjewala, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, K Suresh, P Chidambaram, Rajani Patil, Manickam Tagore, Ravneet Singh Bittu and Shashi Tharoor were among those present at the meeting that began at 5.30 pm and went on for more than an hour.

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