Hope Left has got its answers, says Sonia | india | Hindustan Times
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Hope Left has got its answers, says Sonia

india Updated: Aug 14, 2007 02:20 IST
Vinod Sharma and Saroj Nagi
Highlight Story

Congress President Sonia Gandhi has expressed hope that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement on the Indo-US nuclear deal in Parliament on Monday would meet the concerns of the Left parties.

Satisfied with Singh's statement in Parliament, the Congress chief said the deal had to be presented in the right perspective to negate the efforts of certain political parties (read the Samajwadi Party) to exploit the anti-US sentiment among the minorities.

In an informal chat with newspersons here, Sonia Gandhi refused to comment on Singh's remarks to a Kolkata daily on the Left's opposition to the deal. She said in a different context that he was anguished by questions about his commitment to defending national security and sovereignty.

On the issue of organisational changes in the Centre and the States being carried out in tandem with a Cabinet reshuffle to be decided by the Prime Minister, she did not rule out this possibility.

Asked whether the organisational changes would precede or follow the recasting of the Union Cabinet, she said she needed to hold consultations with the PM on the matter.

From her comments, it was obvious that many state units of the Congress were due for changes. Notable among them are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra and the poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh.

In his first comments on the nuclear deal, Lok Sabha MP, Rahul Gandhi, who sat by the Congress president's side, said he had studied the agreement and thought it was in the country's interest.

Both Sonia and Rahul remained non-committal about the latter taking up responsibilities in the party organisation. "Ask the boss," quipped Rahul to persistent questions while the 'boss' kept her counsel.

Meanwhile, well-placed Congress sources talked about the possibility of a chief ministers' conclave and a chintan shivir (brainstorming session) being held after Parliament's monsoon session. A section in the party believes it is time for the Congress to assess its experience in running its first coalition government at the Centre.

Sources said that starting next month Sonia would travel to different parts of the country to address seven to eight regional conventions of district Congress presidents and other local leaders, many of them at loggerheads with each other.

States are being bunched for the exercise that will start with those like faction-ridden Maharashtra and poll-bound Gujarat. Sources also talked of associating Union Ministers with states where elections will be held within the next two years.