Here are the highlights of Rahul Gandhi officially taking over as Congress President:
As we officially welcome Congress President Rahul Gandhi into his role, we look back on his character-defining moments, and look forward to his continued compassionate, integrity-fuelled leadership. #CongressPresidentRahulGandhi#ThankYouSoniaGandhipic.twitter.com/YylvZdwG1J- Congress (@INCIndia) December 16, 2017
Take a walk down memory lane with us as we revisit Smt. Sonia Gandhi's journey in the Congress Party and say #ThankYouSoniaGandhi for her years of guidance, service and commitment to the Party and the country. #CongressPresidentRahulGandhipic.twitter.com/NMN7Hruvzd- Congress (@INCIndia) December 16, 2017
Rahul Gandhi, who officially took over as Congress president from his mother Sonia Gandhi this morning, slammed the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his first speech in his new role, saying the PM is "taking us back to medieval times." Mr Gandhi, 47, is the fifth member of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to lead the Congress; no one challenged his elevation in the organization election that critics describe as a sham." itemprop="description
(Rahul Gandhi thanks his mother Sonia Gandhi after his first speech as Congress President)
Here are the highlights of Rahul Gandhi's first speech as Congress President:
- Like many Indians across the country, I am an idealist.
- Congress is an ancient idea. BJP would have you believe they are oldest idea in the universe, as usual this is not the truth. In India,there are 2 ideas that have clashed, idea of self vs the other. BJP are soldiers fighting for self. Congress guided by service of community.
- When I joined politics at 34, I learnt that moment you stand up for the poor and challenge those who hold the seat of power, they will come after you.
- Today we live in a time when India is being led by those who have regressive mindsets.
- These regressive forces win not because they deserve to, but because they are powerful and misuse that power.
- Congress took India to the 21st century, but the PM, today, is taking us back to medieval times. Today we see that the country being led by someone who thinks he alone represents India. While the Congress took India to the 21st century, he is taking India to the medieval ages, where you hear and see killings, hate and fires everyday. Nobody else seems to have a voice except him.
- Such people win only when no one stands up to them...when people back down. But I promise you this; we will never ever back down. We will always challenge them every step of the way.
- Politics belongs to the people, but today politics is not being used for people. It is not being used to uplift people, but is used to crush them.
- Many of us are disillusioned by the politics of our time. Today, politics is devoid of kindness and truth.
- We are now being compelled to imagine that businesses can be built without harmony that only one man himself is the voice of reason. Expertise, experience and knowledge can be cast aside for personal glory.
- I want the Congress party to act as an instrument of dialogue between the people of India. I want the Congress party to promote peace and harmony.
- Once fire breaks out it is difficult to douse it, that is what we are telling the people of BJP, that if you set the nation on fire it will be difficult to control. Today BJP has spread the fire of violence across the country.
- We try and try again to explain to the BJP that once you light the fire and divide the people, it will be very difficult to extinguish it. But they never listen, nor do they learn. All they do is promote hate and violence. They break, we join; they set fire, we douse it; they spread hate, we spread love; they divide, we bring people together. That is what tells us apart.
- The Congress is known as the 'grand old party', but we will now make it the 'grand old new party'.
- Unlike the BJP, which talk of a Congress-free India, our vision of inclusion for India also includes the BJP. Even those in the BJP are our brothers and sisters, though we might not agree with them. That is the difference between us and them. Unlike them, we do not respond to hate with hate. We respond to hate with love.
- It is with deepest humility, that I accept this position (of Congress President) knowing that I will always be walking in the shadow of giants.
(Rahul Gandhi makes his first speech as Congress President, laying out the vision for the Congress party for the years ahead)
Since 2014, we have been in the opposition. I must say that we have never in India's past been staring at such testing times. Those in power today are weakening the pillars of our constitution. but we will never let them succeed. We will never, ever, give up. Protecting and uniting India is our duty. My duty, your duty.
Rahul is my son, so I do not think for me to praise him is right but I would say that since childhood he had to bear the brunt of violence, after joining politics he had to face blatant personal attacks, that have made him a stronger person
When I realised the Congress party is getting weaker after my husband's death, then I had to listen to my party's 'cheekh' (voice)
Here are the highlights of Sonia Gandhi's last speech as leader of the Congress after Rahul Gandhi became Congress President:
- I congratulate Rahul Gandhi for officially taking over as Congress President today.
- This is new beginning, a new hope for the Congress. This is my last speech to you all as leader of the Congress party.
- Two decades ago, when you chose me as Congress chief, I remember my hands were trembling as I addressed you all. I didn't know how I would be able to handle such a great responsibility. But the love you all showed gave me courage. I thank you all for being so supportive.
- I was introduced to politics for the first time after marrying Rajiv Gandhi. Indira Gandhi was a big support.
- This family has done so much for the country. They have given their lives for the country.
- Indira Gandhi took me into the family as her daughter and supported me at every stage. When she was assassinated in 1984, I felt like my mother was taken from me.
- A great responsibility suddenly came upon my husband Rajiv Gandhi, with whom, I remember travelling the length and breadth of India.
- India had many challenges at that time, which Rajiv Gandhi handled with you all to steer India to what we see today. I salute Indira and Rajiv Gandhi for their invaluable contribution to India.
- I thank you all for supporting me throughout my political career. Together, we have kept India united.
- Since 2014, we have been in the opposition. I must say that we have never, in India's history, been staring at such testing times. Those in power today are weakening the very pillars of our constitution. But we will never let them succeed. We will never, ever, give up. Protecting and uniting India is our duty. My duty, your duty.
- If we do not stand by our values, how will we protect and safeguard the common man? How will we ensure a free and united India. I urge you all to do your best.
- India today is a young nation, and you have now chosen Rahul Gandhi to lead you. Rahul Gandhi is my son, and it would not be right of me to praise him as he takes office. But I can say this, that in these testing times, he has stood up to dangerous men in power. He has faced challenges with courage and will steer the party in the correct direction.
- I thank you all for your support over all these years.
(Sonia Gandhi congratulates Rahul Gandhi for being elected Congress president)
Sonia Gandhi starts to address party workers as she hands over the post of Congress president to her son Rahul Gandhi but her speech in interrupted by the bursting of crackers outside the Congress headquarters in Delhi. The crackers are so loud that Mrs Gandhi pauses her speech and signals to the supporters at the gate to stop the bursting of crackers.
The celebrations do not stop and a visibly upset Mrs Gandhi says she "can't speak like this." She even signals to senior party members that the smoke from the firecrackers is affecting her throat.
(During her last speech as leader of the Congress, Sonia Gandhi is interrupted by the noise of firecrackers at the Congress headquarters)
Here are the highlights of Manmohan Singh's speech after Rahul Gandhi became Congress President:
- Today is a historic day for India.
- Please pardon me if I get somewhat emotional on such a historic day.
- I remember a letter that Jawaharlal Nehru ji had written to Indira Gandhi ji stating that one should be able to hold ones emotions on important occasions, but I seek your forgiveness should I get emotional today.
- Sonia Gandhi has guided the party for 19 years. Under her magnificent leadership, the party has seen many achievements - one of them being India reaching its highest growth rate ever. She has led the party with courage and humility.
- Today, after 19 remarkable years, she hands over the leadership of the party to Rahul Gandhi.
- Rahul ji, we look forward to your leadership. I am confident that Congress will reach new heights under your guidance.
- Today, the politics of hope has been changed to politics of fear. Rahul ji, these are testing times for the country. We look up to you to steer India back to the politics of hope and raise the much needed issues of poverty and unemployment. You take over as Congress chief at this crucial junction. I wish you all the best.
(Former prime minister Manmohan Singh congratulated Rahul Gandhi, who took over as Congress president today)
(Rahul Gandhi is handed a certificate officially stating that he has, from this instance, taken over as Congress President)
(Live photos from the Congress headquarters in Delhi. Rahul Gandhi is formally named 'Congress President')
(Live shots from the Congress Party headquarters as Rahul Gandhi takes over as Congress president)
(Rahul Gandhi's supporters cheer as he takes charge as Congress chief today)
(File Photo: Rahul Gandhi has been leading from the front over the last few months after his mother and former Congress chief took a backseat due to health reasons)
(Supporters of Rahul Gandhi and Congress cheer and celebrate as Rahul Gandhi takes charge as Congress chief. The formal announcement will be made at 11 am today)
(Party workers and supporters celebrate as Rahul Gandhi takes charge as Congress president today)
(File Photo: Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi at the Congress party headquarters in Delhi. Rahul Gandhi takes charge as Congress president today after Sonia Gandhi retired from the post yesterday)