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Govt was not trying to save Sonia: Dasmunsi

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 23 (UNI) Congress President Sonia Gandhi's decision to quit as an MP and as the NAC Chairperson was a fitting reply to the Opposition charge that the government was trying to bail her out from getting disqualified for holding an office of profit, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said today.

Refuting the charge that the government had tried to protect Ms Gandhi, Mr Dasmunsi told reporters that the proposal to take some posts out of the ambit of the offices of profit was under consideration following suggestions from several MPs, including Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh.

It was Mr Amar Singh who first approached the government with a proposal in this regard, Mr Dasmunsi told reporters.

Anyway, Ms Gandhi had silenced the Opposition by quitting on ''her own'' as a Member of Parliament from Rae Bareli and as the Chairperson of the National Advisory Council (NAC), he said.

Ms Gandhi had forwarded her resignation letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, he said.

It was unfortunate that the opposition chose to target a woman leader who, as NAC Chairperson, was responsible for implementation of several social sector measures such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, he said.

Asked about several other MPs facing charges of disqualification for holding offices of profit, he said it was for them to follow the example set by Ms Gandhi or not.

He said the government was, in fact, considering suggestions from Mr Amar Singh and leaders of other political parties that some posts be taken out of the ambit of the offices of profit and listed alongside the posts exempted under Article 102 of the Constitution.

He, however, paried a question whether an all party meeting would be convened to evolve a political consensus.

He clarified that this was not the first time such a proposal was being considered.

On at least two occasions earlier, the government had amended the law relating to offices of profit to exempt the posts of Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, he pointed out.

UNI SN VD VC1825

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