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When Margaret Alva left Congress red-faced

November 06, 2008 23:40 IST

In the thick of assembly elections in six states, knives were out in Congress on Thursday with an angry All India Congress Committee general secretary Margaret Alva causing a flutter by alleging sale of party nominations in recent assembly polls in Karnataka.

Alva, who has been sulking since her son Nivedith was not given nomination in Karnataka elections, was critical of adoption of 'different yardsticks' in deciding party nominations for coming elections in six states.

She wondered why her son and grandson of former Union Minister C K Jaffer Sharief were not given nominations while relatives of two dozen leaders were given tickets in Madhya Pradesh [Images], Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir [Images].

"Was my son and Jaffer Sharief's grandson anti-national, terrorists or smugglers," asked Alva, who is in-charge of Congress affairs in over half a dozen states, including Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana.

AICC general secretary Prithviraj Chavan, who is in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka who appeared to be in Alva's firing line, dismissed her charges as 'unsubstantiated and born out of frustration'.

Speaking separately to media persons, Chavan said "as long as Alva is general secretary, I will not comment on her unfortunate statement. Since she is general secretary of the party, any decision on it will be taken by the Congress high command and central disciplinary action committee."
 
Alva spoke of 'total mismanagement' of the elections but made it clear that she was not blaming the central leadership of the party but the 'local leadership'.

AICC sources said Alva is also upset as her bete noire R V Deshpande was made Karnataka PCC chief despite her reservations.

Alva said she is writing to party chief Sonia Gandhi [Images] detailing her the instances of relatives of leaders getting nominations in the poll-bound states.

The AICC general secretary's remarks are considered in party circles as 'unprecedented' as they came from a top ranking office-bearer who is also a member of the Central Election Committee.

Despite Alva's protest, a senior party leader, who declined to be named, claimed her son was denied a ticket for 'want of merit'.

The leader said Alva wanted the nomination for her son from the 'safe seat' of Sarvadnya Nagar in Bangalore where there were 40 aspirants, including the grandson of Jaffer Sharief.

Alva said people from Karnataka are asking her that 'you are a member of the CEC but why is there one yardstick for Karnataka and another for other states?"

Incidentally, senior leaders Digvijay Singh and Vayalar Ravi were part of the AICC Screening Committee for Karnataka along with Chavan.




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