M A I N   N E W S

Sonia meets Sheila detractors
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
Concerned over the slipshod handling of the Chholegate controversy by the party's Delhi leaders, the Congress central leadership has asked various factions of the party to close ranks and train guns on the BJP on the land scam being investigated by the CBI following raids on properties of Ashok Malhotra, a city-based businessman.

Party leaders, upset over the factional turf war, have asked the loyalists of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and the group opposed to her to desist from complicating the situation for the party ahead of next year's assembly polls and direct their energy at targeting the BJP during whose government at the centre the land scam took place.

Worried over attempts to link the controversy with a "conspiracy" to topple Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, the central leadership has heard the leaders from the opposite camp who have been upset over reports alleging their role in unsavoury attempts to oust the Chief Minister. The high command has conveyed to its Delhi leaders that it was not keen on discussing the issue of change in leadership at present.

Sources said Delhi ministers Haroon Yusuf, A.K. Walia and Arvinder Singh Lovely met Congress president Sonia Gandhi.. Their names have figured in allegations made by pro-Dikshit leaders about a plot against her.

At the meeting, also attended by party general secretary in charge of Delhi Ashok Gehlot and Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel, the Congress president asked the Delhi leaders to work unitedly.

The three ministers and other senior leaders Jagdish Tytler and union minister of state for urban development Ajay Maken all said to be in the anti-Chief Minister lobby had earlier met Gehlot to explain the situation and deny any conspiracy.

To queries on Chholegate, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said it was a case of individual criminality. He said there was no conspiracy to topple the Chief Minister. Gehlot said there was no danger either to Dikshit or to the party. "There is no danger to the Delhi government or the Congress," he said. The sources said Dikshit also met Gandhi separately.



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