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Govt hopeful of quota stir ending on May 22

"I hope so," Mukherjee, who briefed the Congress Working Committee on the matter, told reporters later.

india Updated: May 20, 2006 23:03 IST

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is holding talks with medicos agitating against reservation, expressed the hope on Saturday that the stir would be called off by May 22, the day the UPA coalition completes two years in office.

"I hope so," Mukherjee, who briefed the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on the matter, told reporters later.

Mukherjee, who heads the Group of Ministers (GoM) on the reservation issue, said the group has "taken into account interest of all sections of the student community", meaning thereby that interest of general category students would not be hurt by providing OBC quota.

"Details cannot be given for obvious reasons as the report will go to the Cabinet for consideration," he said.

Mukherjee replied in the negative when asked if the issue of power sharing in Tamil Nadu figured at the meeting held against the backdrop of demands from the state legislature party that all coalition partners should form part of the government that is now headed by DMK.

"The meeting congratulated and thanked Rahul Gandhi for his work in Rae Bareli," Mukherjee said when asked whether the issue of making the MP from Amethi AICC General Secretary cropped up at the CWC. This is the exclusive prerogative of the Congress President, he said.

Asked whether the CWC has endorsed the report of the GoM on reservation and Telangana issues, Mukherjee said he has only reported the matter to the party working committee.

Sources said HRD Minister Arjun Singh clarified at the meeting that Government was going ahead with the quota issue in the light of Parliament passing the Constitution Amendment. The HRD Minister said this when one of the delegates suggested that the quota matter would not stand judicial scrutiny.

"These are internal matters of the party," Mukherjee said when asked whether there was any opposition to the quota issue in the apex policy making body of the party.

The CWC passed three resolutions, including one on the UPA Government completing two years in office.

The first resolution passed by the CWC was on congratulating Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi on her massive victory in Rae Bareli byelections.

"She has set a new standard of ideals by resigning her Lok Sabha seat and then faced the polls," Chairperson of AICC's Media department Ambika Soni told reporters after the two-hour meeting attended by 13 CWC members besides permanent invitees.

It also acknowledged the significant contribution made by Rahul Gandhi in organising Sonia Gandhi's overwhelming victory in Rae Bareli.

The CWC also passed a resolution condoling the death of party MPs Ghani Khan Chaudhary and SS Mahapatra.

The third and important resolution was on the party-led UPA government completing two years in office on May 22, 2006.

The CWC also congratulated the electorate for the resounding victory of UPA partners and its allies in the recently held provincial elections.

"The grand success of UPA and the total rejection of NDA led by BJP is a clear evidence that Indian electorate has rejected the politics of dividing the country on communal lines. THE CWC expressed its confidence that under the able guidance of Congress Chief Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the UPA governemnt will set even higher standards of value based on politics and development," the resolution said.

First Published: May 20, 2006 22:35 IST