As a political storm broke out over the draft JPC report on 2G scam, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday held a meeting with senior leaders of the party to draw up a firefighting strategy.
While former Telecom minister A Raja claimed that all decisions were taken in consultation with the Prime Minister, the Opposition accused JPC chairman P C Chacko of doing a cover-up job in the garb of a parliamentary report.
Anticipating trouble in Parliament over the leaked draft and on the alleged vetting of the CBI status report on coal block allocation probe by the Law Minister, Sonia reviewed the political situation.
After a month-long recess, Parliament would reopen on April 22 for the second half of the Budget Session. This comes at a time when the political scenario is hotting up with hectic projections of prime ministerial candidates.
Sonia’s meeting, however, focused mainly on the parliamentary strategy. It was attended by Home Minister and Leader of the Lok Sabha Sushilkumar Shinde, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Defence Minister A K Antony and Sonia’s political secretary Ahmed Patel. Apart from the money bill, the Congress is keen to push through a number of key legislation -- the land acquisition bill, rehabilitation and resettlement bill, food security bill, Lokpal bill among others -- before the end of the Budget Session. Not to mention the SC/ST job promotion reservation bill over which the BSP and SP have taken diametrically opposite positions, making it tough for the government that needs the support of both the parties to survive. The Congress sources said the party and government were already anticipating disruption in the first few days of the session.
On land acquisition and food security bills, sources said the leadership was confident of getting support across party lines.
Quite significantly, after the strategy meeting, Chacko defended himself by saying that he went by the facts and terms and references of the JPC.