Congress, SP leaders fight in meeting with Sonia Gandhi

Rae Bareli: Congress and SP legislators were locked in a verbal duel in front of UPA chairperson and local MP Sonia Gandhi at a meeting here today, prompting her to step in to soothe frayed tempers.

At a meeting of the district vigilance and monitoring committee, Congress MLC Dinesh Singh alleged bias in selection of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia villages under a scheme launched by the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh.

Sonia Gandhi. AFP

Sonia Gandhi. AFP

He alleged Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was diverting Central funds for the scheme, sources said.

This was strongly objected to by state minister Manoj Pandey who said the discussions should be confined to development issues.

There was no need to indulge in blame-game, he said.

Pandey was joined by two other SP MLAs who threatened to boycott the meeting if remarks against the Chief Minister were not withdrawn leading to heated exchanges between the SP and Congress members, the sources said.

"I denied the allegations of bias in selection of Lohia villages. Whatever villages are selected are backward and lie in Soniaji's constitutency. My contention is that the name of the Chief minister should not be taken at the meeting," Pandey told PTI.

He said the Congress chief supported his viewpoint and asked the MLC not to engage in verbal duel.

The situation was normalised after Gandhi intervened.

Dinesh Singh was not available for comments.

The members of the committee, which include local MP and legislators, reviewed progress of central schemes like PMGSY, MNREGS and Nirmal Bharat in the district and gave suggestions for their effective implementation.

PTI