New Delhi: Congress top brass today discussed the strategy to pass a slew of anti-corruption bills pushed by Rahul Gandhi to create a ‘framework’ to fight graft as also the issue of Jat reservation and the party’s floor strategy in Parliament.

The issues came up for discussion in a meeting of Congress Core Group chaired by party President Sonia Gandhi along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh minutes after Rahul Gandhi had an over 30-minute long meeting with the Prime Minister.

Highly-placed sources in Congress said the hour-long Core Group meeting deliberated at length on the Congress strategy in Parliament during the fortnight-long session in early February to pass the vote on account as well as the pending anti-corruption legislations prioritised by Rahul Gandhi.

The top leadership decided to give a clear push to passage of the anti-graft bills including the Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill, Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, a bill on citizens’ charter, amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act and the just-passed Lokpal Bill, which has received assent of the President.

The Prime Minister had last week said that it will be the “sincere effort” of the government to pass these anti-corruption measures pending in Parliament ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections so that the fight against graft can move ahead.

Besides the issue of Jat reservation was also discussed in detail. A delegation of Jat leaders had recently met Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to thank them after the Cabinet asked the backward classes commission to expeditiously take a call on providing reservation to the community in central government jobs.

Reservation for Jats had been a long-standing demand of people from eight states including Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

This is an issue, which has the potential of impacting poll outcomes in some of the states especially Haryana and Rajasthan.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal and Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions V Narayanaswamy, who are not members of the Core Group, were also called for the morning meeting.

Defence Minister A K Antony, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and the Congress President’s political secretary Ahmed Patel are members of this top decision making body, which is viewed as an interface between the party and the government.

The Congress Core Group, which usually meets in the evening, today met in the morning as the Prime Minister has to leave for Mumbai to inaugurate a new international airport terminal.

Free Press Journal