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Sonia's backing for reforms has strengthened PM, Chidambaram

September 25, 2012 15:05 IST

On Tuesday, Congress President Sonia Gandhi backed up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent policies stating that economic reforms were essential and that the opposition should play a constructive role in this regard.

Party sources said that while giving full support to the initiatives taken by Dr Singh, Congress Working Committee members carefully listened to the arguments put forward by Finance Minister P Chidambaram. 

Janardhan Dwivedi, chairman of the Congress media cell, told media persons after the party's working committee meeting, "The Congress president said it is necessary to improve the economy and the government has taken measures in that direction."

Dwivedi's statement puts a lid on the issue of whether the party was putting its full force behind the government's current economic decisions, which have attracted widespread protests. This also makes it clear that Congress has taken a clear position on the issue of not only the hike in diesel price but also on foreign direct investment in retail.
Sonia's unambiguous support in full force, as articulated by Dwivedi, will strengthen Dr Singh and Chidambaram.

When asked whether the CWC and Sonia's support to FDI in retail and the steep hike in diesel price meant that the current members of CWC were no more "socialist" and were ready to adopt "capitalist economy and free markets", a CWC member gave a confusing answer.

He said, "No, the Congress is still left-to-centre party. Chidambaram explained to us that the euro and the dollar were fluctuating. The currency market is risky. The rupee would have gone down much if no steps were taken. If, now, we would not have taken steps to arrest the fall of rupee then it would have gone out of control."

He said that Chidambaram spoke more than anybody else in the working committee meeting.

The Congress leader said, "Garibon ke liye paisa kahan se ayega (where will the money meant for the poor come from)? The Congress Working Committee has supported the government to strengthen economy and poor people."

On whether Rahul Gandhi made his presence felt in Tuesday's meeting, the Congress leader, who attended the meeting, said that the former spoke only about the killings of village representatives in Jammu and Kashmir.

Two days after a village head was gunned down in north Kashmir's Baramulla district, scare and panic has struck the elected village heads and representatives in the region, forcing over eight of them to resign.
Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi