SEVAGRAM: Invoking Mahatma Gandhi's 'Quit India' call on his birth anniversary, the Congress Tuesday called for a "new freedom struggle" against what it called the Modi government's politics of "polarisation and intimidation".
At a meeting of its apex decision-making body CWC at a venue where 'Quit India' resolution was adopted in 1942 under Mahatma Gandhi's leadership, the party also resolved to fight the RSS's "blatant hypocrisy", saying it vilified and rejected the father of the nation during his lifetime, but was now brazenly proclaiming itself to be his champion.
"Its (RSS's) ideology that was responsible for spreading the atmosphere of hate that led to the Mahatma's tragic assassination," Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said quoting the resolution.
The Congress Working Committee (CWC), under the party president Rahul Gandhi's leadership, adopted a resolution urging the partymen to spread the message that it was only the Congress that truly embodies the ethos of a liberal, secular and an inclusive 'Bharat'.
In another resolution, the CWC condemned the use of force against protesting farmers on the outskirts of the national capital.
The CWC meeting at Maharashtra's Sevagram, the abode of Mahatma Gandhi during his last 12 years of his life, assumes significance as it comes more than 75 years after the first meeting convened in 1942 under the Mahatma's leadership to adopt the 'Quit India' resolution.
Another CWC meeting was held here in 1948.
The meeting was attended by several top party leaders including former prime minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
The CWC resolved that "a new freedom struggle is the urgent need of the hour".
It called for "a massive movement to combat the forces of divisiveness and prejudice, to confront the Modi government whose politics is the politics of threat and intimidation, the politics of polarization and divisiveness, the politics of crushing debate and dissent, the politics of imposing an artificial uniformity in a nation of extraordinary diversity, the politics of hate and vendetta".
The CWC also called upon the entire nation to fearlessly defend and uphold India's foundational values and idea of India, which Mahatma Gandhi stood for, lived for and even sacrificed his life for.
The committer resolved to call upon "all countrymen and women, particularly the young, to determinedly fight the politics of fear, intimidation, lies and deception- to never bend, to never stop; till we achieve our goal.
" It said the 'Mahatma' sacrificed his life to neutralise the venom of communalism and it was only the Congress that truly follows his path.
In a veiled reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government, the resolution said "appropriating" Mahatma's legacy may be politically expedient for some, "but imbibing his principles and values in thought, word and deed is impossible for those who see in the Mahatma only electoral opportunities".
"One may borrow the Mahatma's spectacles for publicity campaigns, but implementing his vision will remain unfulfilled unless his principles are followed," the resolution said in an apparent reference to the logo for the government's 'Swachh Bharat' campaign The CWC resolved to "expose the hollowness and doublespeak of the ideologies and organisations who have never believed in, let alone followed the Gandhian path of truth, tolerance, harmony and non-violence".
The party said the CWC underlined that it is only the Congress that truly embodies the ethos of 'Bharat' that is fundamentally inclusive, liberal, secular and assimilation of India's plurality and diversities.
"It is only the Congress that is deeply committed to the principles of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity, laid down in the Preamble of the Constitution," the resolution said, asking party members to propagate it, especially to the youth.
It said the CWC draws inspiration from the Mahatma's unyielding commitment to listen to every voice, "to defeat the forces that are today dominating the will of the people".
"Elections will come and go. But the ideological battle has to be relentless and unswerving. The CWC rededicates the Indian National Congress to this sacred task," the CWC said.
In a press conference later, Surjewala said the CWC passed two resolutions recalling Gandhi's contribution to the "Indian thought process, its soul and body".
The CWC paid tributes to former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
He said "the call of 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan' is not just a slogan but a way of life and his party will continue to fight for farmers' rights.
He said the "second freedom struggle" will be against the Modi government for practising politics of "hatred, divisiveness, fear, polarisation, crushing dissent and debates".
"The Modi government is against India's plurality and is indulging in politics of revenge, falsehood and betrayal. It is easy to talk about Gandhiji in speeches. It's just political opportunism," he said.
"Mahatma Gandhi is in the soul of the Congress, its thinking, path and vision. Ideology of (Nathuram) Godse which had killed Gandhiji cannot imbibe his thought," he said.
Referring to the police action on farmers on the Delhi-UP border, Surjewala said, "We condemn the autocratic Modi government and the prime minister who is drunk with power.
We express solidarity with the farmers and resolve to redress their grievances if voted to power."
He said CWC's call will serve as a "roadmap and guiding light" for the party to frame policies.