M A I N   N E W S

Amarinder, HP CM meet Sonia on downsizing
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
The Central leadership of the Congress continued to grapple with the issue of downsizing of ministries in the party-ruled states with the party chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi, having parleys today with chief ministers.

Congress sources said detailed discussions had been held and the exercise was expected to be completed tomorrow.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, the Assam Chief Minister, Mr Tarun Gogoi, and the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde, were among those who met Ms Gandhi.

Emerging from the meeting, Capt Amarinder Singh said the ministry would have representation from all 13 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state. He indicated that the ministry might have some new faces.

The sources said the Chief Minister, who was at the 10 Janpath residence of Ms Gandhi for over an hour, would meet the Congress President again tomorrow. They said Capt Amarinder Singh was sticking to his suggestion about performance of MLAs in their constituencies in the recent Lok Sabha poll being a criteria for downsizing. The Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, has already met senior party leaders to convey her viewpoint.

Mr Virbhadra Singh, who is to reduce his ministry by four, also gave his suggestions to the Central leadership. He has indicated that Hamirpur will get representation in the reconstituted ministry.

The Central leadership of the Congress had earlier given broad hints that the performance and efficiency of the individual ministers in development of their areas and the Lok Sabha election results in their constituencies would be taken into account.

The chief ministers have underlined the need to maintain regional and caste balance in the exercise of downsizing.

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