Cong to conduct membership drive, events to connect with people

New Delhi, Sep 6 (PTI) The Congress will carry out a membership drive across the country and organise other programmes to connect with people, the details of which will be finalised at a meeting under party chief Sonia Gandhi's chairmanship on September 12.This was decided at a meeting of the party's general secretaries and in-charges of various states here on Friday."A meeting of the general secretaries, in-charges, PCC presidents and CLP leaders has been called in this regard on September 12 in Delhi," All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary K C Venugopal said after Friday's meeting.The membership drive comes ahead of the Assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand due later this year.Congress leaders said the party would celebrate Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary on October 2 in a big way in all the states.It will also launch a training programme for its members, along with other events."As Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary celebrations culminate on October 2, it is time to recall our 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'," Venugopal said."In keeping with this resolve and with a view to carry forward the idea, ideals and message of Bapu, the Congress party will organise massive 'padayatras' (foot marches) at places across the country, which have an association with Mahatma Gandhi and our freedom movement."These 'padayatras' will be conducted under the leadership of the PCC presidents with all state leaders and workers participating with full enthusiasm, fervour and dedication. The DCCs (district Congress committees) and BCCs (block Congress committees) will conduct various local programmes between October 2 and 9 under the same theme," he added.Venugopal said on October 2 last year, a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting was convened at Sevagram in Maharashtra's Wardha, which was Mahatma Gandhi's historic "karmabhoomi", to set into motion the year-long celebrations to commemorate his 150th birth anniversary.He added that the challenges the democracy was facing beckoned everyone to rise above parochial, sectoral and other identities, which divided people by wedging differences between one another."It is time for us to stand in the name of humanity against the ideas of divisiveness and the nefarious designs of perpetuating identity-based hatred by destructive forces in order to save this nation."The deteriorating economic condition and rising unemployment have become the most pressing problems before the nation. Anti-people policies of the government have made the everyday life of common citizens miserable," the Congress leader said.He added that Mahatma Gandhi was always concerned about the last man in the line and strove at taking everybody along. He also believed in the empowerment of the most disempowered."Unfortunately, what we see today is an unprecedented increase in the gap between the poor and the rich. The 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 the Modi government," Venugopal said. PTI SKC RC