Rahul, Shinde meet deferred as signs of breakthrough came in

Shinde was learnt to have called on Gandhi in the evening and apprised him about Lt Governor Najeeb Jung’s talks.

New Delhi | Published: January 22, 2014 1:03:07 am

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s decision to call off his dharna for suspension of five police officials came when the Congress leadership was about to get into action to discuss a counter-strategy. The Congress is supporting Kejriwal’s AAP government in the state.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had called Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to his Tughlaq Lane residence at 7 pm to discuss the situation but deferred it after the latter communicated to him about the possibility of a breakthrough, ministry sources said.

Shinde was learnt to have called on Gandhi in the evening and apprised him about Lt Governor Najeeb Jung’s talks with an AAP representative that led to an end to what had threatened to snowball into a crisis in view of Sunday’s Republic Day celebrations.

A couple of hours before Shinde’s scheduled meeting, pm Manmohan Singh called on President Pranab Mukherjee and held a 45-minute meeting with him. Official sources maintained that the PM and the President held discussions regarding visit of Japanese pm Shinzo Abe who will be chief guest at the Republic Day function. Singh and Mukherjee did not discuss anything about Kejriwal’s dharna, maintained sources.

Senior Congress leaders claimed the party was not worried about the Delhi CM’s dharna as “it drew only the media and not the people”. “We were watching the situation but there was no worry whatsoever. We were rather getting feedback that Kejriwal’s stance was only leading to disenchantment among people about AAP government’s reckless disregard for the rule of law,” said a Congress functionary.

While the Congress had been divided over continuing support to AAP government, sources said there was no re-think about support at this stage. At a meeting with party leaders from Delhi last Saturday, Rahul Gandhi was learnt to have asked them to watch AAP government’s “tamasha” saying its “gimmickry” wouldn’t work and it would be exposed soon. Despite constant provocations from AAP leaders who even accused Home Minister Shinde of corruption citing former Home Secretary RK Singh’s recent remarks, the Congress was not thinking of withdrawing support, “at least” until Lok Sabha elections, according to sources.

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