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Narayanasamy downplays UPA leaders visit at 10, Janpath


April 24, 2012 - New Delhi

Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office (PMO) V. Narayanasamy on Tuesday downplayed the visit by several senior leaders at Congress President Sonia Gandhi's 10, Janpath residence in the wake of reports over four UPA ministers offering to resign from their posts, and contended that it was a routine meeting.

"This is a strategy meeting about Parliament. This is a routine meeting called by the honourable Congress President," he told the media here.

According to reports, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office (PMO) V. Narayanasamy were present in today's meeting.

Several senior ministers of the Manmohan Singh-led UPA-II Cabinet have reportedly written to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, saying that they would like to be relieved of their portfolios and would like to work for the party.

According to reports, Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vyalar Ravi are the senior leaders, who have written in this regard to Sonia Gandhi.

Senior leaders could be replaced by younger Members of Parliament in the Union Cabinet, who may now be given important portfolios and extra responsibility.

The plan to revive the Congress has been taken following the initial report of the A.K. Antony Committee, which looked into reasons for the party's extremely poor show in the recent Assembly elections in five states.

The final report, which will be submitted to Sonia Gandhi by end of April, points out that a weak organisation was the main reason behind the party's rout.

Sonia Gandhi had set up the Antony Committee with Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde as the two other members following the Assembly elections rout, particularly to study the Congress's show in Uttar Pradesh where Amethi MP and General Secretary Rahul Gandhi had worked very hard and almost made it a prestige issue.

ANI

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