''Pressing engagements'' force Antony to postpone Japan visit

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New Delhi, Jun 23 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony, who headed a Congress panel to re-energise the party ahead of Lok Sabha elections, has postponed his proposed visit to Japan due to ''pressing engagements at home''.

No new date has been finalised for the defence bilateral meet, which was slated from June 28 to July 2, Defence Ministry sources said.

It is believed that the forthcoming Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting was the reason behind the postponement.

On Saturday, a seven-member Congress panel, headed by Mr Antony, had suggested early declaration of party candidates for the Lok Sabha as well as state assembly elections to give them a good chance of winning.

The Antony panel report is slated to be discussed at various levels in the AICC in the coming days. The CWC meeting is also likely to discuss the report threadbare. The developments within the party are being seen as the reason behind the postponment of the Japan visit.

The panel was set up by AICC president Sonia Gandhi to draw up a strategy to reverse the pattern of defeats in the wake of the loss in Karnataka Assembly polls.

The committee members included AICC general secretaries Digvijay Singh and Mukul Wasnik, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi.

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