Sonia skirts scandals in her AICC address

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 3 2010, 05:33am hrs
Allegations of corruption and large scale graft may be dogging various individuals associated with the Congress, but not by a flicker was this betrayed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi during the All India Congress Committee (AICC) session held on Tuesday. The sessiona formal ratification of Gandhis election as party presidentinstead saw Gandhi make her first ever statement on the Ayodhya verdict and put state governments on the mat for rising prices.

Not a single word on corruption was mentioned either by Gandhi or Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or even finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Instead, Gandhi spoke about inclusiveness in the governments policy in Kashmir and roundly berated state governments for what she termed as an abdication of their responsibility towards controlling price.

We find that when it comes to the good works done through central schemes and funds, state governments never stay behind in taking the credit. But when it comes to reining in prices through control of blackmarketeering and speculation, they blame the Centre, she said.

Gandhi expressed anguish at the loss of young lives in Kashmir. I share their grief. Their loss is national loss. The whole generation has seen nothing but violence and conflict, she said.

She urged all those who are dissatisfied in Jammu and Kashmir with the government to trust the government and give peace a chance and enable us to build future for the next generation.

Gandhi also made a significant distinction between the Ayodhya verdict and the criminal case pertaining to the destruction of the Babri Masjid. The destruction of the Babri Masjid was a criminal, shameful act, which must be punished, she said.

Gandhi informed that a new Land Acquisition Act and rehabilitation policy was in the offing. On Jammu and Kashmir she urged people to give the government a chance to initiate a dialogue in the Valley.

On terrorism, she said the threat is for real and we will never relax our vigil against terrorism. She said it was crystal clear as to who was behind the attacks on November 26, 2008 in Mumbai.

Touching upon the issue of Naxalism, she said while firm police action is necessary, there was a need for greater emphasis on socio-economic development.Maharshtra chief minister Ashok Chavan was present at the session and so was Commonwealth Games organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi.

Sources in the Congress attending the session said any decision on the removal of Chavan would be taken only after the visit of US President Barack Obama, whose first port of call on his India visit is Mumbai.

The formation of the committee comprising finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and defence minister AK Antony has bought some time for the party to think about what to do, said a source.

With PTI inputs