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Congress says Ashwani, Bansal won't go even as BJP builds pressure


Pallavi Ghosh,CNN-IBN
May 06, 2013 at 08:40am IST

New Delhi: Union Railway Minister Pawan Bansal and Law Minister Ashwani Kumar are not going to resign just as yet. The Congress Core Group, which met on Sunday evening, has decided to fight it out with the Opposition over the railway bribery and coal scam controversies. Sources say that the allies, too, are backing the Congress on both these issues.

"I don't think it is in keeping with the canons of the Indian jurisprudence to pre-judge or pre-determine issues," Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari said. The core group decided that it would not buckle under pressure from the BJP and even risk adjourning Parliament early.

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CNN-IBN has learnt of the inside story which led to the decision to back both ministers. There were inputs from the government that prima facie link of the railway scam cannot be traced directly to Bansal yet. Congress President Sonia Gandhi said damage must be contained and BJP must be replied to.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said the BJP isolated as most parties want the House to run and and are not asking for Bansal's resignation. It was felt that if Congress agrees to Bansal's quitting, then Ashwani would be next and the Prime Minister would be vulnerable. The PM said UPA allies agree that no minister needs to quit.

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While the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Janata Dal United have not demanded Bansal's resignation, the BJP reacted strongly to Congress's no to the resignation of Bansal and Ashwani Kumar. "The way the Congress party is shielding its ministers is shocking. BJP demands that the President of India should dismiss this corrupt government to save the country," BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.

Former Railways minister Dinesh Trivedi has hit out at Pawan Bansal saying that the buck stops with the top leadership. "It all depends on the top person and I'm not here to have value judgement on this case and ministers. Let the CBI come up with the truth. One has to be held accountable for the entire morality of the system concerned because you are at the helm of affairs and if something goes wrong you are answerable," Trivedi said.

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But the decision taken at the Congress Core Group meet could be a temporary reprieve, specially for Ashwani. If the Supreme Court pulls him up, his continuance becomes untenable. But for now the Cong is smug with the news in of the exit polls predicting its win in Karnataka and the withdrawal of Chinese troops.

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