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(Adding reference to Congress in para 2, line 1)

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, July 7 (UNI) The Core Group of the Congress,which met at the official residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here tonight, discussed threadbare the issue of disinvestment in the light of yesterday's decision by the Government to put on hold all the proposals for disinvestment of PSUs.

The meeting came soon after both Congress and the Prime Minister's Office denied remours that the Prime Minister was considering resigning from the post, being upset over yesterday's development when DMK, a UPA constituent, had threatened to break away from the Government on the issue of disinvestment of the NLC,a Tamil Nadu based PSU leading to the decision to put on hold disinvestment proposals.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi,Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister Shiv Raj Patil,Political Secretary to Mrs Gandhi, Ahmad Patel, were among those present at the the meeting, which lasted one and a half hours.

While there was no official briefing about the Core Group meeting, it is believed that the Core Group formulated its stand on the future course of action of the UPA Government with regard to the process of disinvestment and how it has to be carried forward in view of the opposition voiced by the Left parties and some coalition partners to the disinvestment programme.

The Core Group is understood to have decided to take up the matter of disinvestment at a meeting of the UPA shortly to secure their consent to the disinvemetment plan, which forms part of the National Common Minimum Programme, to carry forward the process of reforms. This is in view of the deadlock created by the decision to put on hold all disinvestment proposals.

Mrs Gandhi is likely to meet the coalition partiers to discuss the issue of disinvestment shortly,according to sources.


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