UPA tiff simmers as Sonia takes a break

According to sources, Gandhi did not have many interactions with the senior Congress leaders and ministers on the issue. “There have not been regular meetings”, they said.

The 64-year-old Gandhi had left the country on August 2 for New York and returned home on September 8 after the surgery for an undisclosed ailment.

The main opposition BJP has been demanding the sacking of  Union Home Minister P Chidambaram who is in the centre of 2-G controversy on account of a note sent by the Finance Ministry headed by Pranab Mukherjee.

The Finance Ministry’s note, brought to public light through invoking the Right to Information Act, has created a strong undercurrent of intensifying political rivalry at the top, sources said.

Even though the Opposition has now stepped up offensive by placing accountability for the 2-G mess at the doorstep of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,  the Congress President does not seem to be pro-active on the issue.

An appointment sought by Chidambaram at 10 Janpath has also reportedly been declined.

Gandhi who also heads National Advisory Council (NAC) has made her first public appearance 40 days after her surgery when on September 15 she chaired a meeting of the Congress’s central election committee (CEC).

The meeting organised at her 10 Janpath residence here also discussed party candidates for the 2012 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

The 65-minute meeting had then effectively scotched speculation that she was frail and would take a longer time to recuperate. “She has not made another public appearance since,” sources said.

A lack of urgency to see a quick end to the brewing controversy between Mukherjee and Chidambaram has been read in terms of “uncertain health” of Gandhi.

“The current controversy in the 2-G case is particularly serious as the Supreme Court is directly monitoring it,” sources said.

Besides the BJP and Left parties, civil right activist Anna Hazare and Yoga guru Ram Dev have been regularly  targeting the home minister and the prime minister.

But barring Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh, no other voice in the Congress made a categorical statement on the issue.

The party and cabinet leaders are keenly looking at 10 Janpath for giving them the format of offence against the Opposition which has sharpened its sniping against home minister and the prime minster and apparently used the finance minster as their shield.

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