The Indian Overseas Congress (IOC), Australia, held public reception for two senior leaders of the Indian National Congress, Mr Sachin Pilot – former Union minister and president of Rajasthan Congress – and Mr Milind Deora – former Union minister – on July 29 at the Dezire Function Centre in Blacktown. Both were earlier hosted in Melbourne on July 27 and in Auckland on July 28.
The event proved highly successful with a jam-packed hall including audiences from different communities, community leaders, local councillors and some parliamentarians. Manoj Sheoran, the Australian National President of IOC, delivered a welcome speech and briefly explained the main objectives of their organisation. Following this, Mr Sachin Pilot and Mr Milind Deora addressed the audiences and lauded the contribution of the Indian diaspora in enhancing Australia-India ties and requested the community to keep pushing politicians for issues concerning the diaspora.
Speaking about the Congress party’s 2019-election preparations, Sachin Pilot said that under the leadership of party president Rahul Gandhi, the party would stand for its core values and beliefs while Milind Deoara declared: “The Congress party will present an alternate view on investment, job creation, skill building and agricultural economy. Issues that matter to people should be of priority rather than unnecessary things. Politics is increasingly becoming about persona and personalities and less about issues. Religion, caste and personalities are non-issues aimed at distracting voters from the core issues, ”adding: “Congress has to learn from the BJP, the art of political communication.”
On the question of granting dual citizenship, Deora said that the main concern was allowing Indians – who are citizens of Australia or any other country – to vote in India. “That’s something we will try to achieve when we are back in power. There’s no reason why we can’t resolve this issue,” he said.
To a similar question raised on the dynasty issue prevalent in the Congress party, Deora clarified that this was a misconception concerning the Gandhi family, because Mrs Sonia Gandhi had handed over the prime ministership to Dr Manmohan Singh last time.
Pilot too, mentioned that in the last 30 years, no one from the Gandhi family had occupied the position of prime minister, chief minister or any minister.
Issues concerning mob lynching and growing social tensions in the country, were also raised, to which Pilot said: “There are laws in India, including those on cow slaughter. If anyone violates them, the due process of law should take its own course. But on mere suspicion, you cannot attack and kill people in broad daylight. We oppose this trend, we condemn it. Those convicted of lynching are being garlanded by political leaders, our country cannot afford to have this.”
After the in-conversation Q&A session, moderated by Dr Partha Gangopadhya, IOC office bearers Sukha Singh, Mallikarjun, Abhishek Gagneja, Rajashekar Reddy and Kadambari honoured the two leaders with Australian souvenirs.