Secular forces must unite against divisive forces: Congress

Jaipur, Jan 20 (IANS) The Congress Sunday appealed to the country's secular forces to join its ideological battle against the divisive forces and condemned the opposition's "obscurantist philosophies".

The Jaipur Declaration, adopted by the All India Congress Committee at its Chintan Shivir attended by over 1,200 delegates here, "calls on all secular and progressive forces of the country to unite in this ideological battle against those who polarise and divide our society".

"The Congress rejects the outdated ideologies and obscurantist philosophies of the opposition parties and recommits itself to the principles of economic growth and social justice which have come to define the inclusive growth model of the Congress-led UPA government," said the declaration.

The declaration has emerged from the two days of brainstorming (Jan 18-19) by cabinet ministers and party leaders at the Chintan Shivir to draw a roadmap for the 2014 general elections.

The Congress rejected opposition's ideologies and said it was committed to economic growth which led to social welfare defining the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's model of inclusive growth.

The declaration noted that "there is a new aspiration for advancement among the middle class, especially the youth and pledged to speak for them".

It also reiterated the party's commitment to empower the weaker sections of society, including dalits and minorities.

The Congress also said it would fight corruption at all levels and mentioned direct cash transfers scheme as an aid to the aim.

The Congress reaffirmed political mobilisation in dealing with internal security challenges such as Maoism and said it would push laws which empowered tribals.

The biggest socio-economic challenge was to provide inclusive growth with jobs to reduce inequality, said the declaration.

The party would fight inflation, it said, adding that the government would take initiatives to create more incomes for farmers while mentioning foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail. The agriculture sector was significant, it noted.

It also mentioned redressal of public grievances at the grassroots level within a specific time frame.

On women's empowerment, the declaration said the government would take helpline 181 to all major cities and towns for prompt redressal of complaints.

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