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'The Congress is my life'

May 19, 2004 22:55 IST

Following is the text of the statement issued by Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday:

When I spoke to the Congress Parliamentary Party yesterday, I expected that there would be some disappointment and some sadness. But I have been totally overwhelmed by the outpouring of emotion from nearly every corner of our country. And I have been humbled by the love and affection that has been so spontaneously expressed.

To all of you who are upset or disappointed, I have this to say: I am not going anywhere. I am still very much in politics. I will continue as Congress president and chairperson, Congress party in Parliament for as long as you want me to. I am one of you. And nothing will ever change that.

I entered politics out of a sense of duty and commitment. My family has always treated politics as part of a crusade to create a better India. Indiraji and Rajivji made the supreme sacrifice for our nation. There examples inspired us all and speaking for myself, I know that I derive my strength from their courage. No matter how much adversity I have faced, it is nothing compared to what they had to go through. Today, it is their strength and their inspiration that guide me and the Congress party.

I understand your disappointment. But I appeal to you to understand the depth of my sentiment, when I say that I cannot reverse my decision. We live in times when politics is about power. Let us show the world that for the Congress party, politics is about values and integrity.

As I said, I am overwhelmed by your love. But now, we must get on with the serious business of undoing the damage done by the last government and of working to create the India of our dreams.

I urge you to support the Congress prime minister. And I request you to give your full support to the new Cabinet. The Congress party is overflowing with talent. Let us give India the government it deserves.

Speaking for myself. I will always be here, working for the party. The Congress is my life. All of you are my family. Let us now build the 21st Century India that was Rajivji's vision.

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