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Congress distances itself from MPCC chief over fund-raising controversy

Source: PTI
October 16, 2010 00:50 IST
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The controversy over fund collection for Congress president Sonia Gandhi's rally at Sevagram in Wardha district on Friday could land Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre in trouble. The All India Congress Committe indicated that it was not coming to the rescue of the beleaguered leader, amid questions whether he was off the hook or being proceeded against.

"Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and MPCC chief have made their statements on the issue. We have nothing to say on this matter now," party spokesperson Manish Tewari told mediapersons in New Delhi. If some development takes place further, and the party has any other opinion on the issue, it will give its response when required, he added.

Tewari also parried a question as to whether the party's top leadership was angry with Thakre.The controversy has risen at a time when Sonia Gandhi is in the process of finalising new PCC chiefs for the states after her re-election as Congress president.

The Opposition has been attacking the Congress hammer and tongs over the issue demanding a judicial probe into the matter. The demand was made by Eknath Khadse, leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra
assembly, after news channels showed footage of two senior Congress leaders including Thakre allegedly discussing matters relating to fund collection.

The video showed Thakre speaking with former minister Satish Chaturvedi about fund collection from Congress ministers, including Chavan, for the rally that was addressed by Gandhi.

Chavan has said all the money raised for the rally has been accounted for. "It's an expenditure borne on transporting people from various parts to participate in the rally. People will like to come if the arrangements are made properly and that's all," he had said.

Tewari also attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party for making an issue out of it, saying the main opposition parties "should look within" and invoked the controversial vote of confidence in BJP-ruled Karnataka. "Such a party need not give anybody else a lesson. The BJP have exposed their character and conduct," he said.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar has accused Congress of "making use of money power to hold rallies its core belief."
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