NEW DELHI, Dec 28: The Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday hoisted the party flag at the AICC headquarter in Delhi to celebrate the party’s 139th Foundation day and said the objective of the Indian National Congress was public welfare and progress of the people of India.
Top Congress leaders gathered for a flag-hoisting ceremony before flying to Nagpur for a rally to kick-start the 2024 national poll campaign. Kharge pledged an “unwavering” commitment to protect the Constitution and uphold democratic values.
He said the Congress had always worked towards building an India that was based on parliamentary democracy and equality. In a post on X, Mr Kharge said, “The Congress believes in an India that is based on parliamentary democracy, where there is equality and opportunities for all without any discrimination, and where political, economic and social rights enshrined in the Constitution are followed,” he said.
“We are proud that for the last 138 years we have been struggling with full honesty to build such an India. My heartiest greetings to every Indian on the occasion of Congress’ foundation day,” he said.
Wishing party workers on X, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who will on January 14 undertake the 6,200km-long Bharat Nyay Yatra from Manipur, the north-eastern tip of India to its western shore, said he was proud to be part of an organisation like the Congress, which has truth and non-violence as its foundation, love, fraternity, respect and equality as its pillars, and patriotism as its roof.
The Congress is set to kickstart its campaign for next year’s Lok Sabha elections with the ‘Hain Tayyar Hum’ rally at the RSS Headquarter Nagpur in Maharashtra. Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole had said the party would give a message of change to defeat the BJP.
Kharge said the Congress represents the people and is synonymous with struggle, compassion, freedom, justice, and equality. “On the solemn occasion of Congress Foundation Day, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to protect the Constitution of India and uphold the values of Democracy,” Kharge wrote on X.
Meanwhile, the Congress general secretary, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for the first time was named in an Enforcement Directorate charge-sheet over the alleged purchase and sale of five acres of land in Haryana. Her husband, businessman Robert Vadra, is also named but neither is listed as an “accused,” official sources said.
The charge-sheet was filed against CC Thampi, an NRI businessman, and Sumit Chadha, a British national of Indian origin. The ED believes they helped fugitive arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari – who is accused of violating the Official Secrets Act, among other laws – hide the proceeds of his crimes.
The agency – often accused of acting against opposition leaders on orders from the centre – has referred to Ms Gandhi Vadra’s transactions with HL Pahwa, a Delhi-based real estate agent who sold her agricultural land in Faridabad in 2006 and, four years later, re-purchased the same tract. In addition, a house was also allegedly purchased in Ms Gandhi Vadra’s name, in Faridabad’s Amipur village, in April 2006 and sold back to Mr Pahwa at the same time as the land.
Mr Pahwa is the same agent from whom her husband Robert Vadra had allegedly bought 40.8 acres of land in Amipur between 2005 and 2006, and sold it all back to him in December 2010. A similar deal – for 486 acres- was executed by Mr Thampi, out on bail after his arrest in 2020. The ED had named Mr Vadra – who the agency claims has a “long and thick relationship”, with Mr Thampi – in earlier charge-sheets.
Mr Vadra has been previously questioned by the ED in other cases and has denied all wrongdoing, but this is the first time the Congress leader’s husband has been named in this particular case.