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Congress may axe Venkataswamy over Sonia remarks

February 02, 2011 17:41 IST
Senior Congress leader from Andhra Pradesh G Venkataswamy, who caused a flutter demanding the resignation of Sonia Gandhi as party chief, could be shown the door. Indications to this effect were available with Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, who is in charge of party affairs in Andhra Pradesh, saying that his "viciousness" in attacking Gandhi and his "arrogance" certainly warranted action.

Replying to questions, Moily, however, did not specify the form of disciplinary action against the 82-year-old former deputy leader of the party in the Lok Sabha. Congress sources have said the party chief has the power to summarily expel even a Congress Working Committee member for anti-party activities.

"We have taken serious note of his arrogance, vicious attitude and such actions definitely warrants action," Moily said. Asked about the type of action he was referring to, he merely said, "Wait and see."

The law minister said the Congress has given everything to Venkataswamy and his family. "It is really shocking how he is repaying his gratitude to the party which has endowed him the highest benefits. He is highly ungrateful to a party which nurtured him as a mother. His remarks are absolutely absurd, irresponsible, insensitive and grossly volatile of the norms and standards of discipline on the Indian National Congress," he said.

Moily said he spoke with Venkataswamy on Tuesday morning with regard to the veracity of his statement. "He said he has indeed made such a statement. I asked him whether he will withdraw the statement, the remarks made against the Congress president. He said no," Moily said.

Meanwhile, Venkataswamy said in Hyderabad that he was ready to withdraw all his comments. "I had to make those comments because I was worried that party may suffer in Telangana region. I am ready to withdraw all comments."

The Telangana leader had demanded that Gandhi should step down as party chief and make way for an "Indian". In a no-holds-barred attack on the Congress leadership, Venkataswamy alleged corruption has grown and that the nation and party were suffering from various ills.

He also criticised the party over moves to tie up with Praja Rajyam Party headed by actor Chiranjeevi. Congress sources said Venkataswamy's attack needed to be seen in the light of the fact that he was soon going to be out of the CWC that Gandhi is reconstituting.

Meanwhile, Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh V Arun Kumar termed Venkataswamy's outburst against Sonia Gandhi as a "shameful" act.

Kumar, a member of Parliament from Rajahmundry in coastal Andhra, said Venkataswamy, a CWC member, should not forget that he was one among several Congress leaders who "bowed before Sonia Gandhi" asking her to take over the reins of the party in 1998.

Kumar said the Congress's decision to tie up with the PRP is based on a proposal by late Andhra Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. "It was YSR who wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi on May 18, 2009 two days after the elections saying that PRP should be included in the cabinet to strengthen Congress," he said.

He said Venkatasamy should be "ashamed" of making such a statement demanding the resignation of the Congress president.

"No one should forget the past. Venkatasamy left the Congress in 1971 and again joined the party in 1973. He was made a central minister. He should not forget the past," he said.

On Venkatasamy criticising the Congress's moves to tie up with PRP, Kumar said just because Chiranjeevi is an "integrationist" it is not proper to say the party has bowed before him. "Telangana and integration of the state and tie up with PRP are two different issues. He should not confuse the two issues," he said.

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