Three chief ministers — N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Ashok Gehlot and Sheila Dikshit — on Saturday met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi separately against the backdrop of political developments in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi.
Mr Reddy called on her on the eve of the byelection to Kadapa Lok Sabha and Pulivendula Assembly constituencies in Kadapa district.
The byelection is significant as it will decide whether or not Mr Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the son of late chief minister Y.S. Rajashekhar Reddy, would be a factor in Andhra politics.
Mr Gehlot met Mrs Gandhi amid controversies surrounding his kin’s alleged links with the land mafia. However, Mr Gehlot said the issue was not discussed at his meeting with Gandhi. “She did not ask me this. So there was no occasion for me to explain. These allegations are baseless. I have earlier also said that I will quit if the allegations are proved,” he told reporters after the meeting.
An unfazed Mr Gehlot said, “Allegations were levelled personally against me even 30 years ago. This time the allegations are against my children. These are all media reports and the BJP is attacking on their basis.”
The Congress sources described the meeting as a “routine one”, saying it was normal for chief ministers to meet the Congress president.
Mr Gehlot also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and was said to have raised the issue of linkage coal for Rajasthan and the issue of delay in environmental clearance to mining leases there.
Ms Dikshit and Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief J.P. Aggarwal also met Mrs Gandhi. Asked about the meeting, Mr Aggarwal said it was a courtesy call as the newly appointed Aldermen had wanted to seek blessings of the party chief.
Several Congressmen, who were recently appointed as Aldermen to the MCD, also accompanied Ms Dikshit and Mr Aggarwal to the meeting with Mrs Gandhi.
The meeting of Ms Dikshit and Mr Aggarwal with Mrs Gandhi comes at a time when the chief minister has been attacked by a section within the Congress for her proposal to split the MCD into five smaller bodies ahead of next year’s municipal polls. Asian Age