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Coal controversy: Sonia to address Congress Parliamentary Party today
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Delhi : Leading the counter-offensive on the coal block allocation issue, Congress President Sonia Gandhi is expected to rally the party behind Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


Mrs Gandhi will be addressing the general body meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party, which will be the first occasion for her interaction with party MPs after the controversy broke out.

Her address will come shortly before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leaves for Iran for a four-day trip to attend the NAM Summit.

The proceedings of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha have been paralysed for the last five days following turmoil on the issue.

While interacting with a group of party leaders last week Mrs Gandhi had signalled to partymen to be on the offensive against BJP which has been sticking to its demand for the resignation of the Prime Minister.

Mrs Gandhi's address is expected to form the basis of the party's counterattack in Parliament on Tuesday, as several party MPs are planning to give notices in the Lok Sabha for a discussion on the issue under Rule 193, which does not entail voting.

Meanwhile, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Coal Minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal this evening held a special briefing for party MPs and union ministers on the issue, apparently as part of Congress plans to corner the Opposition on the issue and puncture their criticism.

It is learnt RJD's Lalu Prasad, Samajwadi Party's Shailendra Kumar, CPI(M)'s Ramchandra Dome and BJD's B Mahtab have given notices in this regard.

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