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Balance needed between security concern and austerity: Cong

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - 22:00

New Delhi: A day after the train carrying
Rahul Gandhi was stoned, Congress on Wednesday said a balance has to
be struck between security concerns of SPG protectees and
commitment to austerity.

"While our commitment to austerity stands unchanged,
security concerns of SPG protectees are paramount and will be
kept in mind," party spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan told
reporters here when asked to comment on the incident.
Natarajan said Congress wants to be to be seen with
the common man and will have to take care of security
also.

"Both will have to be balanced," she said adding
"since it is a matter that concerns his (Rahul`s) security,
all measures must be taken...we will take all these concerns
on board."

Natarajan, however, dismissed the stone-pelting
incident as the "handiwork of some mischievious youngsters".

A senior AICC leader had on condition of anonymity
also said while austerity is fine security aspect must not be
compromised with.
"Such measures do have an impact on checking
tendencies of extravagance among party leaders but caution has
to be applied when it comes to those with high security risk,"
the leader said when asked about Congress President Sonia
Gandhi`s air travel to Mumbai in economy class and Rahul
Gandhi`s train journey in a non-executive class to Ludhiana.

Asked about UPA ministers spending lakhs of rupees on
renovation of their offices and residences, Natarajan said
the concerned ministers have already answered to the charges.

"Our ministers will adhere to the norms as
prescribed," she added.

Brushing aside BJP`s charge that Congress` austerity
drive was a "bizarre tokenism", Natarajan said "it`s not
tokenism. Both the government and Congress are committed to
substantial austerity measures and the austerity drive is a
continuation and articulation of that process."

She also attacked the opposition party for
criticising the austerity drive saying "they do not know what
is sacrifice. BJP people have not given up anything in their
life. We do not expect them to understand our concerns."

To another query about the delay in the election of a
CLP leader in Andhra Pradesh, she said "there is a Chief
Minister there who is leading the CLP at this time. There is
no vacuum at the moment there."

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - 22:00
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