UPA chairperson and former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi launched a direct attack on the Narendra Modi government and cautioned her party against the "reign of despair and fear heaped upon India's deprived and poor". Mrs Gandhi was addressing the Congress Working Committee, the top decision-making body of the party, in the capital on Sunday.
Mrs Gandhi said the Prime Minister's "rhetoric showed his desperation", and that the "countdown for the BJP-led government had begun."
"We have to rescue our people from a dangerous regime," said Mrs Gandhi, adding that the party is "committed to making alliance work" and in this endeavour she is with the Congress president and her son Rahul Gandhi.
Sources say there was a general consensus on strategic alliance ahead of 2019 polls. Congress leaders Sachin Pilot, Shakti Singh Gohil and Ramesh Chennithala said the Congress Party should remain at the centre of alliance, with Rahul Gandhi as its face.
Mrs Gandhi's statement on alliance comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi compared a united opposition to a swamp. "There is not just one 'dal' (political party) but dal over dal resulting in "dal-dal" (swamp) which will only help the 'lotus" bloom," said PM Modi at a farmers rally in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday. Lotus is the election symbol of the BJP.
The revamped CWC meeting is taking place amid the ongoing monsoon session, which is the last full-fledged parliament session before the 2019 general elections.
The tone of the Congress campaign, in the run up to the parliamentary polls, was set off during yesterday's no-confidence motion, when Congress chief Rahul Gandhi launched a blistering attack on PM Modi, on a wide range of issues including the Rafale deal, farm distress, unemployment and women's safety. Mr Gandhi said he will counter the BJP's "hatred and anger" with Congress' "love and compassion."