Make promises that can be fulfilled, says PM; Sonia asks Congmen to buck up

ManmohanThe statements were made by Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi at a key meeting of the Members of Parliament of the Congress party.

Emphasising that while the recent assembly elections had been "deeply disappointing" for the Congress, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the party should "not despair for the General Election of 2014".

Addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting, Singh endorsed Congress president Sonia Gandhi's statement earlier this month on the need for the Congress to "introspect deeply", saying this was the "right reaction".

Taking an apparent dig at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Prime Minister said, "unlike some other political parties", the Congress' work programme for the future should not be based only on promises "which lie outside the realm of possibility".

This was the first meeting of Congress MPs after the party's disastrous show in the assembly elections earlier this month.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, meanwhile, conceded lack of discipline and unity were among the reasons for the party's debacle in Assembly polls. Addressing the CPP, she acknowledged that there were many factors for the defeat and said, "It is obvious that we have not been able to convince people of our policies."

Touching upon the issue of corruption, the main plank the opposition is fighting on against the government, Singh said while the government was often criticized for not doing enough to curb it, it had done "more than any earlier government for bringing in transparency and accountability in the work of public authorities."

The PM also sought to dispel the impression that the government cared "only about inclusiveness" and not about growth, saying it was a "completely mistaken impression". "There should be no doubt that growth revival is high on our agenda," he said.

Singh agreed that clearances had slowed down affecting large infrastructure projects. " Part of the reason for the slowing down is that the bureaucracy is hesitant to take decisions because decisions have been questioned by the CAG and the CVC in an environment where everything is politicised," he said.

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