Sonia to decide on action against Alva: Congress (Third Lead)

November 11th, 2008 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) The Congress was Tuesday struggling to deal with the crisis caused by the resignation of its general secretary Margaret Alva, with the head of a disciplinary panel saying that party president Sonia Gandhi would decide whether action should be taken against her for going public with allegations of wrongdoing during the Karnataka assembly elections earlier this year. Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who heads the party’s Disciplinary Action Committee (DAC), was Tuesday said to have submitted his report on the issue and the Congress said it was now for Gandhi to take a decision on this.

“It depends on the party president when she will take action on the report submitted to her. She will take her own time,” Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad told IANS.

Alva Tuesday had submitted her resignation from the post of general secretary of the party, just days after she alleged that party tickets were “sold” during the May 2008 elections in Karnataka - and was immediately accused of indiscipline on the ground that she had gone public on an issue that should have been resolved internally.

“We have told the party members not to speak either for or against it. The matter is being looked into by the Disciplinary Action Committee (DAC) chairman and we will react once the matter is finalized,” Congress spokesperson M. Veerappa Moily told reporters soon after Alva had handed her resignation to Gandhi.

“There is a breach of discipline by Margaret Alva and there is no doubt about it. All allegations made by her are an after thought. She should not have made public these things. The Congress party has its own norms and disciplinary standards and party members should abide by it,” Moily added.

According to party insiders, Alva, who was summoned back from poll-bound Mizoram, a state she is in charge of along with Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana, had appeared before Antony Monday to substantiate her version of how tickets were “sold” during the Karnataka assembly polls.

She had later met Gandhi and offered to step down as party general secretary.

That the party was not prepared to let Alva off the hook was indicated by a statement from Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

“I am not unhappy with the distribution of tickets,” Gandhi told reporters.

Last week, Alva had alleged in an interview that tickets were “sold” during the Karnataka assembly elections, saying that “different yardsticks” were being applied 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.

Alva’s 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.

This prompted Moily to retort that the BJP should refrain from fishing in troubled waters.

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