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Soni resignation: Congress members continue wrangling
September 18, 2007 16:36 IST
Union Minister of state for Commerce Jairam Ramesh has apologised to Culture Minister Ambika Soni for seeking her resignation in the wake of the Ram Setu affidavit fiasco. However, in spite of Ramesh tendering his apology to Soni, the internal wrangles in the Congress are far from over.
With party chief Sonia Gandhi [Images] strongly disapproving of the way Ramesh went public in the matter, the minister called up Soni on Monday and apogised to her for his remarks to the media.
Ramesh, once a close associate of the Culture Minister, told her that he was "sorry and still remained her friend," said party sources.
However, the matter appears far from closed, with a terse "no comment" being Soni's response about the matter. According to sources, Ramesh's apology to Soni was prompted by the party high command's displeasure over his remarks. However, senior leader R K Dhawan, who had stated on Monday that Soni should have resigned on moral grounds, remained firm on his statement on Tuesday.
The All India Congress Committee is trying to put a lid on the controversy. It has asked party members to put an immediate end to the campaign for and against Soni, as the matter of the controversial affidavit has been "settled after the rectification of the error."
Soni said she had sought an appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images], who is currently convalescing after a surgery, to explain her position in the controversial issue. The Culture Minister has already met party president Sonia Gandhi to give her side of the story.
Immediately after returning from her visit to Japan [Images] on Friday night, Soni suspended two senior Archaeological Survey of India officials in connection with the affidavit and ordered an internal inquiry about the matter.
The Congress, on its part, is maintaining that it has not taken any decision about Soni's resignation.
The BJP has been demanding the resignations of Soni, Law Minister H R Bharadwaj and Shipping Minister T R Baalu. Baalu announced on Tuesday that the Centre will go ahead with the Sethusamudram project and would approach the apex court soon for its green signal to start the project.