Alva quits Congress post, meets Sonia to explain position (Lead)

November 11th, 2008 - 2:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) Congress leader Margaret Alva Tuesday resigned as general secretary of the party, the morning after she met Sonia Gandhi to explain her stance on the controversy following her allegation that party tickets were sold during the Karnataka polls.The party’s Disciplinary Action Committee (DAC) had threatened action against the 66-year-old leader.

According to party insiders, Alva, who was called back from poll-bound Mizoram, a state she is in charge of along with Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana, appeared before DAC chairperson A.K. Antony Monday to give her version of how tickets were sold during Karnataka assembly polls in May.

She later met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and offered to resign from her post as general secretary.

Last week, Alva had alleged in an interview that tickets were sold during the Karnataka assembly elections and said that “different yardsticks” were being implemented in deciding party nominations for upcoming elections in six states.

She had questioned why her son Nivedith and the grandson of former union minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief were denied nominations while relatives of two dozen leaders were given tickets in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.

“Were my son and Jaffer Sharief’s grandson anti-national, terrorists or smugglers?” Alva had asked.

Senior Congress leaders disapproved of her action of going to the media over the issue knowing this would provide the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party easy ammunition in the run-up to the polls.

Her allegations were labelled a “stunning revelation” by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which was quick to capitalise on the issue. “This has thrown up a cash-for-ticket scam,” BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said here.

While Alva met Antony, the party’s Scheduled Caste department head Yogendra Makwana came out in her support and said there was a “grain of truth” in her allegations.

Fellow Karnataka politician and former deputy chief minister Siddramiah also spoke in Alva’s favour.

The Congress denied the allegations.

“The Congress does not agree with the allegations by our senior and seasoned leader Margaret Alva that money is used in the distribution of tickets,” party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi had told reporters.

Singhvi said during elections many people may differ on some candidates but such differences were not to be aired in public. He said winnability and party ideology are the only criterion to give tickets for elections.

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