Thursday, November 2, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Sonia ‘not deterred’ by Prasada

BANGALORE, Nov 1 (PTI) — Congress President Sonia Gandhi today asserted that she was not deterred by dissident leader Jitendra Prasada’s presence against her in the party presidential election.

“Not at all,” Ms Gandhi shot back when asked by reporters if she was deterred by the contest from Mr Prasada, who is the first ever to take on a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family for the top party post.

She was speaking to reporters during a brief stopover at the Bangalore airport en route to Lakshadweep.

“Nothing in particular,” Ms Gandhi said to a query as to what she felt about Mr Prasada’s presence.

On the impact of Mr Prasada’s contest on inner party democracy in the Congress, Ms Gandhi said, “The whole effort is to ensure inner party democracy. That is precisely why we have set up the Central Election Committee and authorities in each state to ensure transparency and democracy within the party for these elections.”

Speaking to reporters separately, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh, who also accompanied Ms Gandhi to Lakshadweep said there was “not even the slightest threat” to Ms Gandhi’s leadership from Mr Prasada.

He dismissed as “non-issues” points raised by Mr Prasada regarding the organisation and the poll process, saying, “He has forgotten how he became the Vice-President last time. The elections (then) were worse than this time.”


No room for tall leaders: Jitendra

NEW DELHI, Nov 1 (PTI) — Dissident leader Jitendra Prasada feels that the days of ‘‘tall leaders” in the Congress are gone and the leadership has to see ‘‘reality’’, restore inner party democracy and devise a collective leadership.

Three days after throwing his hat in the ring for Congress president’s election, Mr Prasada appeared relaxed even as he was busy on telephone directing his supporters and shaping his strategy for the November 12 poll.

He was unsparing in his criticism of the leadership, but was hesitant to take the name of Sonia Gandhi in his hour-long interview to PTI .

Mr Prasada would leave for Chennai tomorrow for campaigning, even as his camp alleged that attempts were being made by Sonia Gandhi loyalists to “alter” lists of PCC delegates.

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