Saturday, May 4, 2013

Pawan Bansal won\'t quit, Congress decides to weather new storm

New Delhi,

May 05 2013,

Faced with a new scandal after Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal\'s nephew was arrested for allegedly taking a bribe to influence a Railway Board appointment, the Congress Saturday decided to weather the crisis with the core group of the party taking the stand that there was no need for the minister to resign.

Although there was speculation through the day that Bansal had offered to quit, sources close to the minister denied he had made such an offer.

Bansal met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and also attended the Congress core group meeting where he presented his side of the story to the party\'s top leaders.

The core group, headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, weighed the situation and appeared to be of the view that the UPA should not give in to demands from the opposition for Bansal\'s resignation.

The view among senior party leaders was that any such step would bolster the opposition to gun for Law Minister Ashwani Kumar\'s resignation for allegedly influencing the CBI\'s coal allotment report, an issue that has already resulted in a standoff in Parliament.

A senior UPA functionary contended that the party would stick to the formulation that a minister\'s resignation was not warranted unless something definite came out against him or her in the form of charges. This line, sources said, had been formulated when the demand for then Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan\'s resignation was first raised in connection with the Adarsh housing society scandal.

\"No decision,\" a source said after the core group meeting where 64-year-old Bansal was called and asked to clarify his stand. Sources said the meeting considered the option of Bansal\'s resignation, a move which indicated the sudden lack of faith in a senior leader always thought to enjoy the confidence of both the Congress president and the Prime Minister.

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