Congress shows Alva the door, party colleagues stay unmoved (Lead)

November 12th, 2008 - 6:19 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 12 (IANS) Senior Congress leader Margaret Alva was Wednesday dropped from the post of general secretary as well the Congress Working Committee and the Central Election Committee on charges of indiscipline, but found few sympathisers in the party. Alva, a former minister who was a Congress MP for five terms from 1974 to 2004, has also been stripped of the charge of Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram, the last of which goes to the polls Dec 2.

“Congress president Sonia Gandhi has taken the decision on the report submitted by A.K. Antony, chairperson of the Disciplinary Action Committee,” Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad told IANS.

Alva had Tuesday submitted her resignation as general secretary of the party - after she was accused of indiscipline on the ground that she had gone public with her allegation that party nominations were sold during the Karnataka polls.

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

The party wasted little time in distributing the states that had been under her charge — Defence Minister Antony was given Maharashtra, Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram, Motilal Vora got Haryana and Mohsina Kidwai was made in charge of Punjab and Chandigarh.

Alva, 66 and a lawyer by profession, found few supporters in the party.

“It is quite clear that she has done it out of self interest, as her son was denied ticket,” said Ahmad.

Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan also echoed the view that Alva had made the allegation out of frustration.

Political analyst G.V.L. Narasimha Rao seemed to agree but said the issue pointed to a larger malaise.

“It is quite possible that she came out with such a statement because of self interest on the issue of distribution of tickets. However, this whole episode has brought out the dirty tradition of ticket being sold not only in Congress but in other parties as well.”

The general view was that it would not have too much impact on the state elections, which kick off two days from now in Chhattisgarh.

“Such intra-party issue do not have adverse effects on the voting pattern, although they attract attention of the people and bring bad name to the party,” Ahmad said.

Analyst Mahesh Rangarajan echoed the view: “This will not have much impact on the elections. But this has raised a serious question over the distribution of tickets within the party. If the allegation comes from a person that has generation links with party, then the allegations must be taken more seriously.”

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