Rahul meets PM as Congress works on pushing anti-graft Bills

Cong vice-president also backs increasing cap on subsidised LPG cylinders.

New Delhi | Updated: January 11, 2014 8:27:43 am
 Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi at a meeting with Screening Committee of the party at AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Friday. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi at a meeting with Screening Committee of the party at AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Friday.

Sources said Rahul conveyed the view in the party in favour of increasing the number of subsidised LPG gas cylinders from 9 to 12. He is learnt to have spoken to Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily.

Several MPs and Union ministers have been demanding an increase in the quota after the Assembly election setback. A group of MPs led by Sanjay Nirupam and P C Chacko also met Moily with the demand on Friday. Moily told them that he will consult Finance Minister P Chidambaram and move the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs on the issue.

Sources suggested the meeting between Singh and Rahul was also significant given the party’s plan to draft in some of the ministers for party work and free some senior general secretaries of organisational responsibilities of key states so that they can contest in the elections. Sources said Law Minister Kapil Sibal and Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy, who are not members of the core group, attended the meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence.

Rahul has been showing urgency to get a set of anti-corruption Bills, including the Prevention of Corruption Act (Amendment) Bill, the Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisations Bill, Electronic Delivery of Services Bill, the Right of Citizens for Time-bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill and the Whistleblowers Protection Bill, cleared.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said the party leadership has decided to push these legislations when Parliament meets in February to pass the vote on account. “Rahulji has been working for passage of these Bills and it was only to fulfil the promises made to the people rather than scoring any political points,” he said.
Sources said the issue of Jat reservation also came up at the core group meeting. A day after the party announced scre-ening committees for selection of candidates for the LS polls, Rahul held a meeting with the heads of the 10 panels and directed them to finish the proc-ess by month-end. Sources said the central election committee is set to start meeting from the first week of February.

Party leaders said Rahul told the screening committees to bring in fresh, young faces as candidates while keeping the winnability factor in mind.

Candidates to be named early: Rahul

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the party is trying to announce candidates early and bring in a process to reflect the voice of the people. “We will be distributing tickets in a new way, under a new process. Discussions on it have been taking place within the party for a long time. We are doing it with a formal structure.

There will be deadline for the first time and the names will be ready very early this time. The thinking is that we bring processes and systems in the party and bring in the voice of people in the political party systematically,” he told reporters. With Rahul keen on early announcement, sources said the first list of candidates can be expected in the first week of February.

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