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Congress might dump Dr Singh

Congress might dump Dr Singh

Author: Lakshmi Iyer
Publication: Mumbai Mirror
Date: May 14, 2009
URL: http://www.mumbaimirror.com/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=3&contentid=2009051420090514032242559b83817dd#ftr2

It is not official yet, but...

Two days before the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress apparently took steps to let go of its PM candidate, Dr Manmohan Singh, to secure the backing of the Left.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi reportedly told a member of Delhi Science Forum, a pro-CPI(M) group, on Monday that her party will accommodate the Left's policy concerns and change the PM candidate, highly-placed UPA sources said. Sonia did not reveal probable alternatives to Dr Singh, but one name being discussed in UPA circles is Sushil Kumar Shinde [a Dalit]. Sources said a change of PM is imperative for securing Left's support.

A UPA leader said, "Despite CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat going on record that he has nothing personal against Dr Singh, the Left needs a face-saver to get back to supporting the Congress after staunchly opposing the Indo-US nuclear deal."

Sources said Sonia is determined to prevent the NDA from coming to power, one reason being their demand for getting money stashed away in Swiss banks. With all opinion polls indicating that there is not much gap between the UPA and the NDA, Sonia does not want to take any chances.

Officially, the Communists are not willing to say anything.

The only indication came in the form of CPI leader A B Bardhan's statement that the Left could support a Congress-led government only if the country gets a Dalit PM.

But CPI National Secretary D Raja clarified, "That remark was meant for Mayawati [a Dalit]."

CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury said, "The Congress has not officially communicated any new name. Let us wait for the numbers on May 16."

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