In her first speech during the 17th Lok Sabha session, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi accused the Narendra Modi government of railways’ privatisation. Raising the issue of Raebareli’s railway coach factory, Gandhi questioned the government’s intent behind quashing the tradition of presenting separate rail budget. Gandhi said that in the first phase, the coaching factory of Rae Bareli is being corporatised, which is the beginning of privatisation. Gandhi won from Raebareli.
“Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had termed PSUs as 'temples of modern India'. It hurts to see that most of such temples are in danger today. Despite profits, their employees are not being salary on time and they've been put in trouble to benefit some industrialists,” Gandhi said in her stinging attack. “That which is happening with HAL, BSNL and MTNL is no secret. I urge the govt to protect the modern coach factory in Raebareli and other PSUs andgive respect to the workers and their families,” she added.
Gandhi retained her seat of Raebareli by defeating BJP candidate Dinesh Pratap Singh by 1,67,178 votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. While Dinesh Pratap Singh managed to pick up 3,67,740, Sonia Gandhi managed to win the seat again with 5,34,918 votes. The SP and the BSP had supported her on this seat. In 2014, she had won by a margin of 3,52,713 votes by defeating BJP's Ajay Agarwal.
Last month, Sonia Gandhi was re-elected as the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP). Addressing the newly-elected MPs at the CPP meeting in the central hall of Parliament, she had lauded party president Rahul Gandhi for his "fearless leadership" by taking on the Modi government and for his "valiant and relentless campaign" during the Lok Sabha polls. She also asked party MPs not to let their guard down. Sonia Gandhi had urged them to play the role of an effective opposition and ensure better coordination and cooperation with like-minded parties in Rajya Sabha, where the government is challenging its numbers. She had said the party will play a constructive role in supporting the government in reform measures, but will oppose its "divisive and regressive actions".
(With agency inputs)