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May 08, 2013 at 03:27pm IST

Sonia wants Ashwani Kumar, Pawan Kumar Bansal to quit: Sources

New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi has conveyed to some party leaders that she wants Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who are facing allegations of corruption, to quit if the party's image is affected. Sonia told some Congress leaders that as the party had won Karnataka Assembly elections on the plank of providing a corruption-free government, so those facing serious allegations should resign.

She told the leaders that a decision on Ashwani Kumar will be taken after the Supreme Court observation on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) status report of coal scam. Ashwani Kumar has not only called for the CBI report but also got a few changes made in it.

However, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi don't agree on Ashwani Kumar and Pawan Kumar Bansal. Sonia is in favour of the Prime Minister addressing media on all issues plaguing the government, sources say. But Manmohan Singh is not keen to talk to the media on any of the corruption allegations including 2G spectrum scam, Railway Board bribery and Railway Protection Force officers transfer and posting scandal and the coal scam.

Sources also say that the Prime Minister and the Congress party are not on the same page when it comes to allegations against Bansal and Ashwani. Both Bansal and Ashwani are considered to be close to Manmohan Singh.

The Prime Minister has been defending them especially Ashwani Kumar even though a section in the Congress feels that the position of both ministers has become untenable following the allegation.

Some Congress leaders feel that Bansal should have resigned by Saturday pending investigation while Ashwani's position after the CBI affidavit in which the agency cvlaimed that its status report on coal sacm was shared with the Law Minister who also suggested changes in it too has become untenable.

A section of the party argues the Manmohan Singh's position and image is in any case being undermined and the party's image is getting further eroded. The party has been reportedly told not to defend Bansal and Ashwani strongly leaving the window of possibility of resignation open.

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