September 27th, 2011
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Sonia to douse the fire

Sonia Gandhi, UPA ChairpersonNew Delhi: Congress chief, Sonia Gandhi stepped in to cement the widening rift between the finance minister and the home minister which was caused by the Finance Ministry note on the 2G spectrum case sent to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Congress supremo convened a meeting with P Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee at her home at 10 Janpath Street. Mrs Gandhi held the first meeting only after Mukherjee’s plane from the United States touched down at Palam. He drove straight to North Block to confer with his officials, who were asked to prepare a background note on the Finance Ministry document.

Mukherjee’s discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York and his later meeting with Sonia is a clear indication of the Congress party’s desperate attempt to resolve the impeding problem and to end the impression of a raging factional war between the top notches of the ruling party.

Ahead of the meeting, the finance minister reiterated that he saw Chidambaram as a “valued colleague” and a “pillar of strength”. These words and Sonia’s intervention are conciliatory for the chances of them to fall out of line are minimal.

However, the final resolution of the current crisis will have to await the return of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from the U.S. late on Tuesday evening; Ms. Gandhi’s conversations with the two Ministers were the first serious step taken to sort out a problem that had plunged the already embattled government into yet another crisis.

The 2G note surfaced as part of 2G litigant Subramanian Swamy’s case in the Supreme Court.  The court is yet to pronounce on Swamy’s plea that the CBI should investigate Chidambaram on his alleged role in backing Raja’s decision to sell 2G spectrum in 2008 at 2001 prices, and this will finally settle the issue, many in Congress feel.




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