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Sonia to visit Rae Bareli on March 28

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 25 (UNI) Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who resigned as member of Lok Sabha on the 'office-of-profit' issue on March 23, will visit her Rae Bareli constituency on March 28 as a prelude to her seeking re-election from there in the by-election forced by her resignation.

Party sources told UNI here today that she would attend a few public meetings during the one-day tour.

Sources said there has been a steady flow of party workers from her constituency to the capital ever since they heard the news of Ms Gandhi resigning from the membership of the Lok Sabha and also the Chairmanship of the National Advisory Council to pre-empt a possible disqualification for holding an office of profit as NAC chairperson.

''An early visit of Ms Gandhi to meet party workers and her electorate in the constituency will stop further flow of workers to Delhi,'' sources pointed out.

Meanwhile, the Congress party has begun a serious discussion on bringing forward a legislation to define what constitutes an 'office of profit.' A meeting of the Congress core committee, held at the official residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last night, decided to first discuss the idea of a legislation with the ruling coalition (UPA) partners.

Since there is growing convergence of interest among all political parties to bring forward a legislation to end the 'office politics,' it may not be difficult for the government to think about a comprehensive bill to find a solution to disqualification threat staring many a politician from different political parties.

The core committee meeting, attended by Ms Sonia Gandhi and her Political Secretary Ahmed Patel, reportedly decided to approach other political parties, including the opposition BJP, after arriving at a consensus on the issue with the UPA constituents.

It is clear that any effort to bring forward a legislation will get the support of the Left parties who have already favoured such an exercise.

The meeting also discussed briefly the different options relating to the reconvening of the Parliament session to discuss the bill on office-of-profit, in the event of a consensus emerging in discussions with all political parties.

Parliament was adjourned sine die on March 22 amid Opposition allegation that it was done so to promulgate an ordinance to amend the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959 to exclude the post of NAC Chairman from the list of offices of profit and thereby prevent Ms Gandhi's disqualification.

Parliament was originally proposed to be adjourned on March 22 and commence its second leg of the Budget Session on May 10.

UNI SH YA GC1206

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