New Delhi: Seeking to lift the party's morale after the electoral debacle, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday asserted that "no failure is permanent".
"A success achieved by discarding basic principles does not stay for long. If one sticks to principles, no failure is permanent," she said addressing party workers at a programme to commemorate the 25th death anniversary of her husband and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Congress is reeling from defeat in the just concluded Assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
Pitching for social harmony, the Congress president said, "We have to compensate for each drop of Rajiv's blood on Indian soil by promoting and strengthening social harmony."
"We will have to follow his values of simplicity, modernity, harmony and sensitivity. That will be our true homage to him. Only then will we be able to say that Rajiv is in us."
Lauding the late prime minister for his contributions in giving the youth the right to franchise, devolution of powers to panchayats and bringing in a revolution in telecom and communication, the Congress president said that he ensured participation of the young people and the deprived sections of the society in the country's development process.
"India is walking with its head held high in the world due to the steps taken by him," she said.
Sonia said that it was Rajiv who had started the change that led to the gains that are visible in the society, economy and politics, "which we talk about loudly today".
"It was he who took the revolutionary step of bringing prosperity in the life of the poor through science and technology. It was he who took strong steps to bring peace in Assam, Mizoram and Darjeeling. Rajivji wanted to see India at the forefront of the world order," the Congress president said.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who was not keeping well for some days, and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were conspicuous by their absence at the event, which was organised by the Youth Congress. Some former ministers like P. Chidambaram and A.K. Antony were also not present.
The event was attended by senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Digvijaya Singh, Janardan Dwivedi, Ajit Jogi among others.
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh on Saturday pitched for handing over power to the youth in the organisation, saying there is "no option" as the party is "facing challenges" in the backdrop of its drubbing in the recent Assembly polls.
Singh's remarks come in the backdrop of a renewed buzz in the Congress circles about Rahul Gandhi's sooner than later elevation as party president.
"Now, we have to hand over power to the youth and there is no option. When I spoke about major surgery, some people had objections. But the power should go in the hands of youth and this is a necessity from the party's point of view," Singh said.
He was speaking at a function organised to mark the 25th death anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
The programme started with 'Vande Mataram' and chants of 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'. Singh said, youth forms a major chunk of the population and with benefits from the reservations over the years, many have been elevated to the middle class. He also emphasised on the need to understand the "aspirations" of the youth and middle class.
Asserting that the party was facing "challenges", he said there was a need to take them on.
Youth is believed to have played a major role in the victory of Narendra Modi in the 2014 Parliamentary polls.
One of the criticism of Rahul Gandhi after the loss of the Congress in the general elections was that the party vice-president failed to enthuse young voters.
Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Singh said that it was wearing the "mask of nationalism", but its "real face" is like British policy of divide-and-rule.
"The BJP and Modiji are trying to take credit these days, but the pillar of modern India is Rajiv Gandhi."
"Those who never participated in the freedom struggle are trying to wedge a divide in the society and are misguiding the youth and the country.
Our fight is not against any person, but against an ideology. The RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) ideology is to divide," Singh said.
He also accused the BJP of "usurping" the legacy of leaders like Vallabhbhai Patel, B. R. Ambedkar, Mahatma Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose.
"They wear the mask of nationalism, but their real face is like the British policy of divide-and-rule. They make use of religion in politics," Singh said, alleging that currently the "seeds of hatred, rumours are being spread through social media".He said that the Congress party is often accused of appeasing the minorities, but the party will work to protect the interests of 16 crore minority population if there is any injustice.
The Congress general secretary said, he is a strong votary of conducting polls in the Youth Congress and noted that it is important to expand this wing of the party.
At a time when the Congress is believed to be grappling with fund crunch, Singh said if Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal can charge Rs500 for a selfie, then every youth Congress worker can contribute Rs250 to the party once a year.