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Muddling line on allies: Cong asks Moily to take a break

Muddling line on allies: Cong asks Moily to take a break

Author: Express News Service
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: May 10, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/muddling-line-on-allies-cong-asks-moily-to-take-a-break/456944/0

Miffed by a series of contradictory statements by her senior leaders on prospective alliance partners from the Opposition camp, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today cracked the whip on AICC media cell chairperson Veerappa Moily giving his charge to AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi until elections are over.

Hours after taking charge, Dwivedi sought to put the record straight: there is no question of any alliance with the TDP as the Congress has fought against it for five years; the Congress won't give any certificate of secular credentials to any party, including the JD(U), as long as they remain with the BJP.

The party sought to downplay Moily's removal. "Moily has not been removed from the chairmanship of the media department," said Dwivedi, claiming that earlier he had given charge of the media department as Moily was contesting Lok Sabha elections. Moily told The Sunday Express that Dwivedi replacing him was only an "interim arrangement."

Moily's remarks about the RJD, the LJP and the JD(U) in the past two days were said to be the "immediate provocation" for the decision. Reacting to reports that RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan skipped the Cabinet meeting on Friday, Moily said: "It is left to them whether to come or not."

Later, he attacked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, notwithstanding Rahul Gandhi's overtures: "I don't think the Congress is going to make a hero of Nitish Kumar. We know his limitations. He is with JD-U. Sooner he joins hands with us, he will collapse. He knows it. To him, retaining the Chief Ministership is more important than ideology. He is prepared to join communal forces like the BJP to continue to be the Chief Minister."

The Congress today endorsed Moily's stance on Kumar, with Dwivedi stating: "If they are with the BJP, how can they be secular?" Party sources, however, said Moily had gone a "little too far" in attacking Kumar and was being seen as "contradicting" Rahul.
Moily isn't the only one straying from the party line. AICC spokesperson Ashwani Kumar said at a press briefing on May 6 that JD(U), AIADMK and TDP are "secular parties". And that Nitish had rejected the Hindutva agenda.

Senior party leader Digvijay Singh's remark that the Congress was ready to sit in the opposition also caused unease. "If we don't form the government, heavens will not fall," he had said. To be contradicted by Rahul days later who said the Congress would not sit in the opposition.

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