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Home > News > PTI

Sethu row: Soni meets Manmohan Singh

September 20, 2007 14:40 IST

Union Culture Minister Ambika Soni Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Thursday, in the backdrop of the controversy over the controversial Ram Sethu affidavit.

"I have explained the course of events to the prime minister. I have submitted all the papers. He heard me patiently. I am content with the meeting," Soni said after her nearly 30-minute meeting with Singh.

Soni, who met Congress President Sonia Gandhi [Images] last week, met the prime minister two days after he returned from hospital after undergoing surgery.

"I am a loyal Congress worker and will abide by the decision of the Congress president," she said when asked if she would continue as minister in the wake of the controversy.

Soni had earlier offered to resign, saying she would immediately step down if asked to do so by either the prime minister or the Congress president.

In the wake of the controversy, Soni, who also is in-charge of the Tourism Ministry, had called off her visit to the United States, to meet the prime minister. She has already submitted all documents pertaining to the issue to the prime minister's office.

Asked if she was hurt about being criticized publicly by her own party members, Soni said, "There is nothing like being hurt in politics. You learn as you go along. It is difficult to work honestly and work according to conviction. There are many factors to be taken into consideration and I am learning."

The Culture Minister is under attack from a section of the party as well as from the Opposition after the Archaeological Survey of India submitted the controversial affidavit in the Supreme Court.

Two ASI officials have been suspended in the wake of the fiasco and an explanation has been sought from ASI's Director General Anshu Vaishya.

Union Minister Jairam Ramesh had sought Soni's resignation, saying had he been in her place, he would have taken moral responsibility for the fiasco and resigned. Ramesh later apologised to Soni, reportedly after party chief Sonia Gandhi expressed her displeasure at his comments.

Senior party leader R K Dhawan had also asked for Soni's resignation. The All India Congress Committee had called for an end to the campaign for and against Soni, saying the matter of the affidavit "had been settled."

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