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May 24, 2013 at 08:38am IST

Congress President Sonia Gandhi is soft, I am not, says Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: With Assembly election just months away, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday asked party leaders in Delhi to work unitedly to ensure a fourth successive victory for the party in the polls and sent out a clear message that indiscipline will not be tolerated by him. At around five-hour long interaction with separate groups of Congress workers at DPCC office in Central Delhi, Rahul underlined the need for better coordination between the party and the government while asking MLAs, MPs and senior leaders to start preparations for the polls slated for November.

"The Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) is soft. But I am not soft. I will not tolerate indiscipline. We must work unitedly," Rahul was quoted as saying by two MLAs. The Congress Vice President held separate meetings of MPs, MLAs, district and block presidents of each of the seven parliamentary constituencies in Delhi. He held a separate meeting with party councillors from all three municipal corporations besides having another meeting with MLAs, MPs and Pradesh Congress Committee delegates.

"Rahul Gandhi told us to work unitedly and prepare for the assembly polls," said Ajay Maken, MP from New Delhi and Union Minister for Housing and Poverty Alleviation. MP from Chandni Chowk Constituency Kapil Sibal said Gandhi asked party workers to further strengthen the party at the grassroot level. "Rahul Gandhi aims to strengthen the party," he said.

Congress President is soft, I am not: Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi was speaking at a meeting with Congress workers in New Delhi ahead of the Assembly elections.

Another MP said Rahul instructed the party leaders to take the achievements of Sheila Dikshit government as well as UPA government to the people. A majority of party leaders, who attended the interactions today, described their meeting with Gandhi as a "morale booster".

"He (Rahul) said power should be decentralised and party should not be run by a few people. He also underlined the need for even taking views of block level party workers while recommending names for ticket aspirants in the assembly polls," said an MLA.

"Rahul said the government may have shortcomings. But that does not mean that you will not take its achievements to the people," the MLA quoted Rahul as saying. DPCC chief J P Aggarwal is not known to have a cordial relationship with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

"We had differences. It is a family and there was nothing unusual to have differences. But today, the differences were resolved. We will work together," Aggarwal told reporters. "I am very happy about Rahul Gandhi's visit to DPCC. It has enthused the party workers to work hard for the upcoming assembly polls," said Aggarwal.

Sources said the DPCC chief and Dikshit are likely to address a press conference soon to send a message of unity. Dikshit and almost all her ministerial colleagues were present in the interactions.

A majority of MLAs said that in almost all interactions Rahul asked all those present to speak about their views on various party-related issues rather than he himself making lengthy speeches. "In our meeting, he even asked one block Congress president what he thinks about his role...He was very clear in his agenda. He wanted the party to be strengthened at the grassroot level," said an MLA.

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