Asian Age Corespondent
New Delhi, 30 November 2011. Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday said the government was committed to eradicate corruption and hoped that the Opposition will help in passage of anti-graft measures, including Lokpal, during the current session of Parliament. Mrs Gandhi addressed a national convention of elected office-bearers of the Indian Youth Congress. This was her first public speech after returning from abroad after the surgery.
She addressed the issue which is refusing to die down. “Corruption is indeed a plague of public life… We are committed to eradicating it,” the Congress chief said.
She said together with the Lokpal Bill, the government is working on a variety of legislations “which will systematically fight corruption”.
“I hope that the Opposition will support us in passing these important measures,” Mrs Gandhi said.
During her over 10-minute address, she made no reference to the raging controversy over FDI in retail.
She said, “The political system needs administrative, judicial and electoral reforms, including state funding of elections and fast-tracking of corruption cases.”
She said that the UPA government is all set to introduce the Right to Food Bill in the current session of Parliament. “It is our government that has brought in the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA, the Right to Information, the Forest Rights Act and the Right to Education. The Right to Food Bill is to be introduced in the current session of Parliament,” Mrs Gandhi said, referring to a variety of legislations brought by the UPA government.
Mrs Gandhi asserted that the government has taken a number of measures to empower the citizens. “Our actions have more than showed our resolve. The RTI, which our government brought in, has placed in the hands of the people, in the hands of you all, a powerful weapon against corruption,” she said.
The Congress president said the UPA government’s measures like the UID scheme or Aadhar will give all citizens the right to identity. “But we all know the true empowerment can only come from participation,” she said.
Maintaining that the Congress has always been in the forefront in the fight for freedom and safeguarding the rights of the common people, she said, “In the last seven years, the Congress-led UPA government under the leadership of Manmohan Singhji has initiated a number of measures that have brought great relief to the aam aadmi while ensuring them their rights.”
She said the Youth Congress should make sure that schemes of government are widely known and it should work as a “pressure group” to ensure their proper implementation.
Mrs Gandhi appreciated the example set by the Youth Congress by barring those convicted of crimes from contesting organisational elections.
In a word of advice, she said while they have contested elections against fellow members, once the exercise is over, “you are all part of the same team working towards a single common goal — the betterment of the organisation of the Congress party.”
She said difference of opinion on various issues can be ironed out through discussions within the organisation.