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Rift in Congress over Digvijay's Osama comments?

By Renu Mittal
May 05, 2011 21:35 IST
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In his death, Osama Bin Laden appears to have divided the Congress party. Sources say that a deep rift has surfaced between All India Congress Committee General Secretaries Janardan Dwivedi and Digvijay Singh over the denial of burial rights for the Al Qaida chief who was shot dead by United States forces in Pakistan on Sunday.

Urdu newspapers, particularly those from Uttar Pradesh, while hailing Singh's statement have run Janardan Dwivedi to the ground saying he has attacked the Muslim personal law board over the issue of burial rights.

The newspapers have said that the Congress and Janardan Dwivedi have been supporting the American line over Osama, and that the party will have to pay a heavy price for this in the coming assembly elections in the state. Calling it a Brahmin party, Urdu papers have said that the Congress has been supportive of the US on a number of issues which is not acceptable.

But sources say that the divide is more reflective of an inner power struggle within the party, as both Singh and Dwivedi belong to two different factions within the AICC.

An example of this was the response over some news reports alleging that a super advisory committee has been set up by the Congress president on issues related to the party, which has as its members Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Digvijaya Singh, Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik Suresh Pachauri and others. All these leaders met the party president on May 3 further heightening the speculation about the committee.

When asked about the committee, Singh remained tightlipped, merely saying, "Ask the media chairman (Dwivedi). If there is no announcement from the party, I have nothing to add."

Dwivedi, on the other hand, said that no such committee had been set up.

 "On the day when the meeting is supposed to have taken place, all the leaders whose names were being mentioned had asked Sonia Gandhi for an appointment and had met her for various reasons and purposes. There was no question of such a committee being set up," he said.

Another senior leader chuckled, "Can you image a committee which has both Pachauri and Singh as members"?  This was a reference to the less-than-cordial relations between the two Madhya Pradesh leaders.

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Renu Mittal in New Delhi
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