Under attack, Arjun Singh wants to end controversy

May 11th, 2008 - 7:01 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) With more and more senior Congress leaders criticising him for his remarks against the Congress leadership, central minister Arjun Singh Sunday attempted to play down the controversy saying it was “needless and irrelevant”. Asserting that his loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi family has been unflinching since 1960 when he met first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the Congress veteran said: “I shall do everything to maintain the loyalty and commitment to remaining members of the family till I live.

“This is a closed chapter as far as I am concerned,” Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh said in a statement issued a day after he was reportedly snubbed by party chief Sonia Gandhi at a function in the national capital.

The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister also said he was “pained at the needless and irrelevant controversies” that were sought to be raised on the book on him, “Mohe Kahan Vishram” (No rest for me), published by Kanhaiya Lal Nandan and presented to President Pratibha Patil Friday.

“Interpretation of the book has caused me discomfort,” he said.

Arjun Singh’s statement came after many senior party leaders lashed at him for his public outbursts against the party leadership - apparently at Gandhi and her son Rahul, who, it is believed, is being groomed as the future prime ministerial candidate of the party.

Arjun Singh had said there was no inner party democracy in the Congress and that “the evaluation of loyalty (in the present Congress) is done in a very narrow sense”.

Although he praised the members of the Nehru-Gandhi family, Arjun Singh indirectly took a dig at the present leadership. He had also claimed he had not supported the emergency rule imposed by late prime minister Indira Gandhi.

While Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi termed his statements as “colourful lies”, another cabinet colleague V. Narayansamy said his remarks were “unacceptable and improper.”

“Arjun Singh is not only a central minister but also a senior member of the Congress Working Committee. He had every opportunity to speak out at the party fora,” Narayansamy told reporters here.

Senior party leaders like Digvijay Singh, Ajit Jogi and M. Veerappa Moily also took a dig at Arjun Singh.

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