Congress President Sonia Gandhi
Congress President Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi: Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi has called a meeting of all party leaders on September 12 to discuss the party's week-long programme to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, party sources said.

Sonia Gandhi has called the meeting of general Secretaries, state in-charges, state presidents, heads of the frontal organisations and the secretaries to discuss plans on how the party will celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at the party headquarters, party General Secretary K. C. Venugopal said.

This is the first major meeting of Sonia Gandhi with all the senior leaders after she took charge of the party from her son and former party chief Rahul Gandhi on August 10. Earlier in the day, several party leaders met here at the party headquarters to discuss and finalise the week-long programmes.

Congress General Secretaries and state in-charges also met at the party headquarters to discuss events that the party is planning from October 2 to 9.

In a statement, Venugopal said, "As Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary programme culminates on October 2, 2019, it is time to recall our (Congress Working Committee) resolution of last year which called 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'.

"In keeping with this resolve and with a view to carry forward the idea, ideals and the message of Bapu, Congress party will organize massive padyatras across the country at places which have association with Mahatma Gandhi and our freedom movement," he said.

Venugopal said that these padyatras will be conducted under the leadership of state Presidents with all state leaders and workers to participate with full enthusiasm, fervor and dedication.

The District Congress Committees and the Block Congress Committees will conduct various local programmes between 2-9 October under the same theme, he said.

The CWC on October 2 last year, in Maharashtra's Wardha had adopted a resolution that 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".

"Democracy and the challenges that it is facing, beckon us to rise above parochial, sectoral and other identities which divide us by wedging differences between one another. It is time for us to stand in the name of humanity against ideas of divisiveness and nefarious designs of perpetuating identity-based hatred by destructive forces in order to save this nation," it said.

"Mahatma Gandhi was always concerned about last man in the line and strove at taking everybody along. He believed in empowerment of the most disempowered. Unfortunately, what we see today is the unprecedented increase in gap between poor and rich," it had said in its resolution last year criticising the BJP government at the Centre.

"Congress party will ensure that this gap is bridged, that it becomes the voice of those who have been rendered voiceless due to the anti-people policies of Modi government," it said slamming the government.

On Wednesday, in a letter to all the general secretaries, state in-charges, state chiefs, secretaries and frontal organisation chiefs has asked them to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma for a week from October 2 to 9.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech said that he will launch a campaign by doing 'shramdaan' against 'single use plastic' to mark the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of the Mahatma on October 2.

According to BJP leaders, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has already put in place a multi-ministry plan to launch its campaign against single use plastic on October 2.

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