Rahul Gandhi speech: Blow by blow

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 18 2014, 02:29am hrs
Rahul GandhiIndia's ruling Congress party Vice President Rahul Gandhi attends the All India Congress Committee (AICC) meet to prepare for the upcoming polls in New Delhi, India, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. (AP)
Rahul Gandhi galvanised the Congress party in a stirring speech wherein he blasted apart the Opposition and showed resolve and purpose that was missing earlier.

Following are the excerpts of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi's address at AICC meet:

-- We have served the country by enhancing and deepening the foundations of our democracy.

-- Let's look at the big steps that we took to increase your power, the people's power, in India. The single biggest attack on the closed system of governance is the RTI.

-- Information is power. We restored this power to you where it rightfully belongs. The RTI has forever altered the politics of this country. We enacted this revolutionary law to hand you power, knowing fully well that it would place our own government under severe scrutiny.

-- We have also created the right to identity so that your money reaches you directly. It is the largest anti corruption platform that anyone has ever built. It will enable people to get their benefits and entitlements without paying a bribe.

-- Secondly, we constructed and reinforced the third pillar of government - Panchayati Raj. This has allowed millions of you to have access to our political system and has exponentially increased democracy in our country.

-- The third step is the advancement of technology, the bedrock of which was set up by the Congress.

-- What the Congress party has enabled over the last ten years is an unmatched transfer of power to our people.

-- The answer to India's problems lies in pushing this revolutionary democratisation further. There are MPs and MLAs here among us - your job is law making.

-- We need to bring the voice of elected Local Self Government representatives into the governance of the country.

-- Democracy is not rule by dictate. It is not rule by one man. It is rule through empowered elected representatives.

-- We have to empower all of you and bring you back into law making so that the voice of the MP counts in parliament, so that the voice of the MLA resounds in the legislature, so the voice of the Pradhan truly counts in the village. But the most important person is our worker.

-- Before we can empower MPs, MLAs and Pradhans we have to begin by empowering millions of our dedicated workers on the ground.

-- You should be able to enter the political system effortlessly and change your future. Instead you struggle. A disempowering system holds you back.

-- Today we live in a world where packaging and selling politics seems to replace the essence of real issues and real people.

-- This is not just another turn in the history of India, another election to be fought, won or lost. This is a turning point in our nations' journey.

-- Either we wake up to their aspirations, or we have no business to claim that we represent them. The change that is taking place around us is unstoppable.

-- The imperative before us, is not whether to change, but when and how to change.

-- We do not respond by proposing oversimplified non-solutions.

-- We do not respond by subverting democratic institutions and blocking Parliament session after session, year after year.

-- Nor do we respond by turning people against each other and lighting the fires of communal hatred.

-- We do not respond by proposing either that the structures of democracy be handed to one single person or that they be viciously destroyed.

-- The Congress Party responds through peaceful, democratic and constitutional means. We respond from the soul of the values that built this great nation. It is interesting to see that the response of the opposition has been to move in exactly the opposite direction.

-- People demand honest and efficient governance. We respond by getting the Lokpal Act passed. We respond by placing another 6 bills in Parliament that if implemented in their spirit, will ensure not only that dishonesty is punished but also that honest officers are protected.

-- People demand higher incomes and greater prosperity.

-- We respond by enforcing a minimum wage and giving them the highest growth rate in India's history.

-- It's easy to pretend that all this is just a matter of passing orders and directives but it isn't. It takes time. It takes sustained commitment. Real change is structural and for that, we need to work continuously through legislation, reform and sustained political effort.

-- We respect the liberty and dignity of every one of our countrymen. We do not love our country because of its economic or political power, we love our country because it upholds the ideals we wish to live by.

-- We love it because it stands on the ideals of humanity and inclusion.

-- No matter how much our shortcomings may frustrate us, we love this country because it has always taught us to love each other. It has always taught us how to remain united in the face of adversity. And it has always taught us to never give up, no matter how hard the struggle, or how dark the night.

-- India teaches us to fight on with compassion in our hearts and faith in our future.

-- There is a tough battle before us. We will go into this battle as warriors with our heads held high. We will not look back.

-- We will go into this battle knowing who we are and what we stand for. We will fight with all that we have within us. We will not rest. We will not lose courage. And we will not stop till the battle is won.