No need to be defensive on CAG report, Sonia tells party MPs (Lead)

August 23rd, 2012 - 11:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi Thursday told party MPs not to be defensive on the CAG report on coal block allocation as the government had not done anything wrong, and to aggressively counter the BJP’s demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation.

Gandhi, who met a group of Congress MPs including some first-timers, agreed with their suggestion that senior ministers of the party should convey the party’s stance on coal allocation through media interactions as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was not allowing debate in parliament.

She agreed with the MPs’ suggestions that the BJP was trying to derive political mileage from the CAG report and the party should convey its stance aggressively, one of the MPs said.

“She told us to convey the party’s viewpoint aggressively. She told us there is no need to be on the backfoot,” the MP told IANS.

He said Gandhi agreed with MPs’ suggestion that party should field senior ministers to convey the party’s viewpoint.

Another MP said Gandhi agreed that the party should expose the BJP’s “obstructionist” parliamentary tactics.

“We met her to convey our viewpoint about how parliament is functioning. We told her that BJP was doing a disservice which should be taken to people,” a party MP said later.

The group met Gandhi soon after the Lok Sabha witnessed its first adjournment over the BJP’s demand and conveyed their anguish at repeated stalling of parliament’s proceedings over the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on coal blocks allocations.

The MPs told Gandhi that the BJP’s tactics can lead to “chaotic situation” and all its demands cannot be accepted. They said situation had to be viewed for the “country as a whole” and not from perspective of a party.

The MPs said they wanted a discussion in parliament on the CAG report.

The MPs who met Gandhi included Sanjay Nirupam, Sandeep Dikshit, Jyoti Mirdha, Deepender Hooda and Annu Tandon.

With Gandhi telling party MPs to be aggressive vis-ŕ-vis “obstructionist tactics” of the BJP, the party came all guns blazing at its official briefing.

“BJP does not do politics on its own. It has needed shoulders of others. In the sixties they needed shoulder of (Ram Manohar) Lohia… They (now) need Anna Hazare and Ramdev,” party media department chairman Janardan Dwivedi said.

Dwivedi praised BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying he never indulged in “undignified conduct.”

“The BJP’s biggest disappointment was that it lost 2009 polls. They are deeply troubled,” Dwivedi added.

Parliament was adjourned for the the third day Thursday over the BJP’s demand for the prime minister’s resignation.

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