Cong tones it down after Rahul-PM meet
A day after it went ballistic against Anna Hazare, the Congress on Monday decided to refrain from personal attacks on the social activist.delhi Updated: Aug 15, 2011 23:35 IST
A day after it went ballistic against Anna Hazare, the Congress on Monday decided to refrain from personal attacks on the social activist.
Top Congress sources said the change in strategy came after Rahul Gandhi's 90-minute meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the party headquarters at 24, Akbar Road after the unfurling of the national flag by senior leader Motilal Vora.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who had left the venue and was asked to return, information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni and Congress party's media department chairman Janardan Dwivedi were present at the Rahul-PM meeting.
Soni and Dwivedi handle the media, information dissemination and the publicity requirements of the government and the party respectively.
A senior party functionary later said the Congress neither gets involved in a slugfest nor launch personal attacks on an individual as per its traditions.
The open war against Hazare came after his team repeatedly targeted the Congress party and its leadership over the lokpal issue.
"Hazare's strongly-worded and insulting letter to the Prime Minister made things worse," he added.
Armed with the justice PB Sawant commission's report, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari on Sunday said: "We want to ask Kisan Baburai Hazare alias Anna that with what face you talk of fast against corruption. You are involved in corruption from head to toe."
But the party does not want it to become a Congress versus Hazare affair.
It was accordingly decided at the meeting that both the party and the government would avoid any "personal confrontation" with Hazare and instead give a "befitting point-by-point reply" to the issues Hazare's team seeks to raise in future.
Officially, party leaders were tight-lipped over what transpired in the meeting.
"I have no knowledge," Soni said while Dwivedi's refrain was "When senior leaders sit, it gets longer some times."
Apart from Soni and Dwivedi, this meeting was attended by Sonia's political secretary Ahmed Patel and Vora.