Rahul Gandhi to address more issue-based press conferences

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi would be addressing more "issue-based" press conferences like he did Saturday on the Lokpal bill, Congress sources indicated.

New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi would be addressing more "issue-based" press conferences like he did Saturday on the Lokpal Bill, Congress sources indicated.

The Gandhi scion addressed a press conference at the Congress party headquarters at 24, Akbar Road, after more than two years. "He will be addressing more such issue-based press conferences in the future," said a party source.

Though he has been addressing the press in New Delhi, they have been more in the nature of impromptu press meets. Like his sudden appearance at the Press Club of India when he trashed the ordinance seeking to protect convicted lawmakers in September, causing embarrassment to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance. The ordinance was subsequently withdrawn.

He also spoke out briefly in support of individual choices in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict upholding a law criminalising gay sex. The 42-year-old Congress leader held his press conference flanked by party bigwigs -- Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Law Minister Kapil Sibal, Minister of State in the Prime Minister`s Office V Narayanasamy and media cell chief Ajay Maken.

Gandhi appealed to political parties to support the Lokpal bill and pass it in parliament. Gandhi answered most questions related to the Lokpal bill briefly and passed on the mike to the more experienced senior ministers Chidambaram and Sibal when more detailed answers were needed.

To a few queries on whether the Congress was pushing the Lokpal bill with the 2014 elections in mind or after the drubbing by the Aam Aadmi Party, Gandhi expressed slight annoyance.

"The argument that we are doing the Lokpal bill because of elections is unfair," he said at one point, and at another, he said passing the bill was not a question of win or lose for the party as they had already passed the biggest weapon to fight corruption in the form of the Right to Information Act.

However, when a few mediapersons veered into different territory, on the party`s debacle, etc, Maken put his foot down and said all queries would have to be related to the Lokpal bill.

The media conference ended rather suddenly and Gandhi was swiftly escorted out of the packed briefing room.