A meeting of newly-elected Congress MLAs failed to choose their leader in the state Assembly on Monday. Instead,party president Sonia Gandhi was authorised to name the leader.
The decision was taken at a meeting,held in the presence of AICC observers Sushil Kumar Shinde,Moti Lal Vora and Digvijaya Singh,party general secretary in-charge of UP.
Before the resolution was passed,the observers met the MLAs individually and asked for their choice of the next Congress legislature party (CLP) leader. The observers said their views will be conveyed to Sonia Gandhi.
Though it was agreed to authorise the party president,not everyone was happy. One of the MLAs said,All other parties have decided their legislature party leaders but Congress,with just 28 MLAs,cannot. Everyone has to abide by the decision of the high command,but we just do not want any other leader to misuse this authority.
Pramod Tiwari was the CLP leader in the last Assembly and most MLAs reportedly want a change. Sources said most MLAs seemed to favour Pradeep Mathur,who was deputy leader under Tiwari,and senior MLA Anugrah Narayan Singh.
Sources said the observers only asked them about their choice of CLP leader,not the state party president,the post for which lies vacant since Rita Bahuguna Joshi has already submitted her resignation.
Three MLAs who did not attend the meeting were Nadeem Javed from Jaunpur,Kazim Ali Khan from Suar Tanda in Rampur and Ajai Rai from Varanasi.
At the meeting,Digvijaya Singh clarified that the central government has nothing to do with arranging sacks for storage of wheat being procured in the state. Recently,the SP had blamed the Centre for a shortage of sacks.
He said that the central government provides around Rs 1,800 per quintal to the state government for wheat procurement. The sacks have to be arranged by the states. He asked the MLAs to raise issues related to wheat purchase in the current Assembly session.
Since Sushil Kumar Shinde is also Union Power minister,some of the MLAs requested him to include areas in their constituencies under the central electrification schemes.
Cong charges SP with failure to cut VAT
LUCKNOW: Three days after the announcement of a state-wide bandh by Samajwadi Party over the steep hike in petroleum prices,the Congress has suddenly decided to raise its voice against the protest,criticising the SP for politicising the issue. Senior Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi demanded that instead of criticising the Centre,the state government should reduce the VAT rate on the pattern of Kerala,Uttarakhand and Delhi. Joshi said,The Uttar Pradesh government imposes 26.55 per cent VAT per litre of petrol,which comes to around Rs 15. While this becomes the income for the state,petroleum companies are in turn facing a loss of Rs 1,80,000 crore. She also targeted the Samajwadi Party government for failing to reduce taxes on petroleum despite promising it in their manifesto. VAT in Delhi is just 20 per cent and Delhi government is planing to reduce it further but the Samajwadi Party-led government,which had promised to reduce VAT rate in the state,is just doing politics in the state by calling a bandh Joshi added.