Give up discretionary powers: Sonia to CMs, Mins

Last Updated: Saturday, January 8, 2011 - 22:19

New Delhi: Taking forward her resolve to take corruption head on, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has
written letters to Union ministers and state chief ministers
asking them to give up their discretionary powers, especially
in land allotment issues.

Gandhi on Saturday also held a meeting of party general
secretaries and asked them to start preparations to hold block
level campaigns against NDA on the issue of corruption.

Her letter to the Union ministers and chief ministers
is a follow up of her appeal made to them during the party`s
plenary session on December 19.

Gandhi, who prescribed a four-point action plan to
battle corruption in the plenary had also asked party chief
ministers and Central ministers to relinquish discretionary
powers in land allotment, declaring that "we must take
corruption head-on".

She said there was "ample evidence" that all
discretionary powers, particularly in land allocation, breed
corruption. "I would like all Congress chief ministers and
ministers both at the Centre and the states to set an example
by reviewing and relinquishing powers."

Gandhi`s observations on corruption had come in the
wake of the party facing mounting attack from the Opposition
on issues like Adarsh Housing Society scam, Commonwealth Games
mess and the 2G Spectrum issue.

Sources said that the letter, which was sent to the
ministers and the chief ministers more than a week back, has
also begun eliciting responses. A number of ministers have
already replied to the letter.

In his reply, Minister of Minority Affairs Salman
Khurshid is learnt to have said that no discretionary powers
are being exercised by him or his ministry.

In the meeting of general secretaries that lasted for
one hour, Gandhi asked them to ensure that simplicity and
austerity are adhered to by Congressmen in states where they
are in the government or in the opposition. Except Rahul
Gandhi, all other general secretaries were present at the

Gandhi is learnt to have told them to ensure that
there is no extravagance in party programmes in the states and
that simplicity be reflected from the life of party leaders
and those in government.

At the plenary, Gandhi had said, "Simplicity,
restraint and austerity must be our chosen way. We cannot make
this a law. But in a country where poverty is still
widespread, let us at least have moral sensibility to avoid
vulgar displays of wealth and waste."

Gandhi also reminded the party general secretaries to
work for setting up of monitoring committees in the state for
regulating the implementation of the Centre`s flagship


First Published: Saturday, January 8, 2011 - 22:19

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