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Sonia names 4 'dissenters' to panels to avoid embarrassment

Sonia names 4 dissenters to panels to avoid embarrassment
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New Delhi: Just a few days after Kapil Sibal raised his dissent over the functioning in Congress, party chief Sonia Gandhi has included four members of the dissenting camp in three committees, which has been set up to keep her informed on matters relating to national security, foreign affairs and the economy. Notably, the announcement about the appointment of 'dissenters' into committees was made on the day when Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was shifted to Goa for few days after doctors advised her to avoid the heavy pollution in the national Capital in view of her chronic chest infection.

However, the announcement about committee formation, which was made on Friday just prior to the Congress chief leaving for Goa to escape Delhi pollution, is seen as a move to avoid further public embarrassment as Sibal's comments sparked another infighting among party leaders with some coming out in support of Sibal and others criticising him.

The committee on economic affairs includes former finance minister P Chidambaram and party leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Digvijaya Singh. Jairam Ramesh will be its convener.

The committee on foreign affairs will have Anand Sharma, Shashi Tharoor, Salman Khurshid and Saptagiri Ulaka. Khurshid will be the convener of the panel.

Th e committee on national security will have the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, party leaders Veerappa Moily, Vincent H Pala and V Vaithilingam. Pala is its convener. Initially, Chidambaram, who represents Maharashtra in Rajya Sabha, was not placed in the dissenting camp and aft er he voiced his concerns over the party's poor performance in the just concluded Bihar assembly elections and bypolls in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, etc, he was included in the dissenters' camp.

Notably, senior Congress leader Sibal had criticised the top-brass for party's poor show by saying that the people no longer view Congress as an eff ective alternative in the political spectrum.

Responding to Sibal's comments, Congress's leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary had said that those criticizing the Congress can join some other party or start a new one instead of indulging in "embarrassing activities".

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