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Sonia to meet PM Sunday on Tharoor controversy

Last Updated: Saturday, April 17, 2010 - 22:27

New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday to discuss the developments in the wake of the IPL controversy surrounding Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor.

Congress sources said that Defence Minister AK Antony and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee are also expected to meet the prime minister to discuss the issue.

The sources said the government would decide its course of action following demands by the opposition for Tharoor’s resignation.

The opposition had stalled proceedings in Parliament Friday demanding Tharoor`s resignation and declared their intention to raise the issue again Monday. They have also demanded a statement from the prime minister.

Congress party sources said the government would not like a situation of continuous disruption of Parliament as important legislative business, including the Finance Bill, is pending.

Party leaders also said that they do not want the opposition to take a moral high ground on the issue.

They said that if a united opposition forces Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to defend Tharoor in Parliament on the Indian Premier League (IPL) row, it would be a further embarrassment for the party and the government.

"The party is not in a mood to defend Tharoor. The party also feels that it would be more of an embarrassment for the party and the government if the prime minister is forced to defend Tharoor in Parliament on such a murky issue," a senior Congress leader said.

Tharoor had Friday clarified that he had not misused his official position and his "mentoring" the Kerala consortium of the Kochi IPL franchise was within the "bounds of appropriate conduct".

The Congress has avoided a comment on the merits of Tharoor`s defence made in Parliament Friday.

However, some party members feel the prime minister might let Tharoor continue.

"The PM likes him very much. The only problem is that Tharoor is always creating a headache for him," a Congress leader close to Tharoor said.

Tharoor tabled the statement in the Lok Sabha after opposition members created a ruckus, alleging that he had misused his official position to help his friend Sunanda Pushkar get sweat equity worth Rs 70 crore in the IPL Kochi franchise.


First Published: Saturday, April 17, 2010 - 22:27
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