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Sonia meets party leaders on AgustaWestland issue


New Delhi, May 3: With AgustaWestland chopper issue coming up for debate in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow, Congress President Sonia Gandhi held a strategy meeting with senior leaders this evening.

The consultations were significant in view of the fact that BJP member Subramanian Swamy had dragged her name in the issue in the Upper House last week amid sharp protests from Congress members.

Sonia Gandhi

A section of party leaders have been emphasising on a foolproof strategy so as to send home the message that the party was all for debating the issue but at the same time would not countenance muck-raking at the leadership.

At the AICC briefing, party spokesman Jyotiraditya Scindia said that the party was all for debate on the issue in both Houses of Parliament to clear the air on the matter.

In the Lok Sabha too, Congress has given notices for a short duration discussion on the issue as also for a calling attention notice. Congress' strategy of attacking Modi government over the Italian marines issue during the debate came to the fore with the party today coming down heavily on the Centre in the matter.

AICC alleged that Modi government "entered into a conspiracy" to "falsely accuse" the party leadership in AugustaWestland chopper case and made a "weak defence" in the Italian marines case as "quid pro quo".

"Recent order of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague confirms the claim that Modi government has entered into a conspiracy to falsely accuse Congress leadership in AugustaWestland case in return for a weak defence in Italian marines case," Scindia told reporters.

In the past one week, the party has raised several questions for the Prime Minister in the matter and declared that it has nothing to hide. Former Defence Minister A K Antony, who was in poll-bound Kerala, returned here today to participate in the discussion.

Besides Antony, Congress' Deputy leader Anand Sharma and party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi, who is a senior advocate, are expected to participate.


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