Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday implored party workers in Uttar Pradesh to be ready to go to jail to make the Mayawati government accountable and said, if need be, Rahul Gandhi will join them in an attempt to revive the Congress in the politically crucial state.
"Seek an account from the present government and be ready to go to jail if needed," she told her workers in remarks seen as an apparent recipe for rejuvenating a moribund Congress in UP, where it has been sidelined for almost two decades.
"I think nothing can happen in Uttar Pradesh until our workers are ready to go to jail. Are all of you ready(to go to jail)?", she asked while speaking on the concluding day of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee regional convention, which itself is being held after a gap of 28 years.
After a pause, the Congress chief told an enthused audience while pointing towards her son seated on the dais, If need be, Rahul will join you to go to jail". This suggestion was greeted by loud cheers from over 2,000 delegates.
Gandhi asked the workers to monitor whether or not the centrally-sponsored schemes were being properly implemented.
Virtually admitting that groupism and factionalism had rocked the Congress' boat in Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi asked the party workers to unitedly strengthen the organisation, and seek an account of the central schemes from the state government.
Gandhi said she did not entirely buy the proposition that the Congress had weakened in the state owing to the emergence of casteist and communal forces.
"The question as to why the Congress weakened in the state is there in the minds of the people and also me. It is said that emergence of casteist and communal forces has weakened the party, but I am not satisfied with this answer," Gandhi said.
"Somewhere we have also committed mistakes. No success can be achieved without organisation. Perhaps we had started thinking that we are bigger than the organisation," she said.
"It must be kept in mind that we exist only because of the party. If the boat capsizes, we will also drown," Gandhi said adding, "The time has come to steer the boat in the current of politics".
Likening the party organisation to an army, she said the workers, who are the soldiers, have to follow the policies and programmes of the party without complaints.
"Congressism is an agitation; it is based on ideologies and principles," she said.