M A I N   N E W S

Revolt will not hit Cong: Sonia
Says Najma free to leave
Tribune News Service

Hisar, February 26
The Congress president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, said here today that the revolt by Congress leader Najma Heptullah would not affect the party and “the Congress would be better off if opportunists like her leave”.

Talking to mediapersons before embarking on the second leg of her two-day Haryana road-show here this morning, she said: “Yeh accha hua hai. At the time of elections the loyalty and commitment of party leaders and workers is tested. The Congress will in no way weaken if opportunists leave it at this stage”.

Mrs Gandhi who arrived here late last night from Bhiwani said she had been overwhelmed by the response of people of Haryana. She said she had received similar response in Orissa and Uttar Pradesh. “It has been a very touching experience”, she said when asked about how she felt after touring these states.

The Congress president’s first stop today was at Behbalpur village where she interacted with a group of women who complained that their main concern was inflation which it made it difficult for them to run the household. “The Congress will solve all your problems,” she told them. Mrs Gandhi, however, did not alight from her vehicle.

She stopped at Barwala where she was received by MLA Jai Parkash. She got down from the vehicle there and briefly addressed the crowd. She only had time to say: “ I am grateful for your love and affection and I need your blessings”.

At several other stops on the way she stepped out of the vehicle to seek the blessings of elderly Congress supporters.

She was accompanied, among others, by HPCC chief Bhajan Lal, Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Ms Shelja. Mr Bhajan Lal and Mr Hooda were trying to convey that the Haryana Congress was united.

Mrs Gandhi evoked good response in the district as she had done in Faridabad, Jhajjar and Bhiwani yesterday.


Sonia migratory bird: Sangma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 26
Former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma today rebutted the Congress observation that Dr Najma Heptullah was a “migratory bird” and said party President Sonia Gandhi should be given that sobriquet because of her foreign origin.

“The Congress has no right to call Dr Heptullah an opportunist or migratory bird when their leader herself has migrated from a foreign country”, Mr Sangma told mediapersons.

He said Dr Heptullah was the country’s most respected leader abroad in recent times and “she has every right to join any party to continue in active politics”.

Criticising the Congress for its “anti-people policies”, Mr Sangma exuded confidence that the voters of the North-East would favour the North-East People’s Front (NEPF), a forum formed under the leadership of Mr Sangma, in the Lok Sabha elections.

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