All India Congress Committee (AICC) chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Thursday met party leaders from Delhi to take stock of poll preparations. The state Congress has been told to present a united face for the coming assembly polls, get over factionalism and nip indiscipline in the bud.
On the face of it, the leaders maintained that the meeting was held to lay down the plan for poll preparations, but sources said the session was aimed at reining in the divergent factions in the party. "We deliberated on when the next meeting for selection of various poll committees should be held as per the Antony committee's recommendation," said Jai Prakash Aggarwal, DPCC chairman.
Sources said Aggarwal had raised a number of issues in the meeting over which there are differences within the party. Patel, however, asked the leaders to settle these differences at a different venue. Aggarwal had apparently opposed the decision to provide food grains and edible oils at ration shops only to those with an annual family income of up to Rs 1 lakh. He had also stated his demand that the 1409 unauthorised colonies in the city be granted regularisation at the earliest. He also raised the issue of land acquisition in villages around Kanjhawala for the Bawana Industrial Area where farmers are protesting the government decision to offer compensation based on land rates that are four years old.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chairman Jai Prakash Aggarwal, Union Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken, Delhi Finance Minister A.K. Walia, Delhi Urban Development Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan and other members of the co-ordination committee like Janardan Dwivedi and MLA Tajdar Babar were present in the meeting held with Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, political secretary to the AICC chairperson; Ashok Gehlot, AICC general secretary and Delhi in charge.
Sonia has been meeting chief ministers of various states in the run- up to the Lok Sabha elections to tighten up the poll machinery.