Unfazed over the demand from the Opposition for the resignations of Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, the Congress High Command on Sunday decided to back both the ministers and fight out Parliament.
The Congress High Command took the decision on Sunday evening after an over two-hour long meeting of the Congress core group at the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The meeting, chaired by party president Sonia Gandhi, discussed in detail the pros and cons of taking action against the two ministers and decided against it.
Senior leaders A K Antony, Sushilkumar Shinde, Kamal Nath, and Ahmed Patel participated in the meeting.
Differences between Opposition parties and the support of allies like the Nationalist Congress Party for Bansal seemed to the reasons for sparing him.
Janata Dal (U) president Sharad Yadav has a clean chit to Bansal, while NCP leader D P Tripathi also spoke in favour of him.
The likely outcome of the Karnataka polls also played a role in the Congress deciding to back its ministers. Exit polls predicted the Congress is coming back to power.
After the core group meeting, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said any decision on Bansal would be taken only after investigations culminate, and stressed that investigations were on. “Let the investigation be over. Let’s not prejudge,” he said.
He also said that the UPA government has not interfered in the investigation.
As far as Law Minister Ashwani Kumar is concerned, Tewari said the matter was sub-judice. “Whatever we have to say on this issue, we will say in the court,” he said.