NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Margaret Alva’s allegation of ticket sale within the party is “baseless, unfounded and imaginary,” said chairman of the party’s media department, M. Veerappa Moily.
Talking to journalists here, Mr. Moily said Ms. Alva had access to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and all party structures where she could have raised the issue. “The Congress president meets all the general secretaries at least once in 15 days. Ms. Alva never used any of these opportunities to discuss it, and all of a sudden she makes these scandalous allegations in public against her own colleagues.”
Referring to the denial of ticket to her son for the Karnataka Assembly election, Mr. Moily said Ms. Alva was upset at this. “But, candidature is not an entitlement of the relatives of Congress leaders.” As for Ms. Alva’s charge that her son was denied ticket only because he was related to her, Mr. Moily pointed out that the former Chief Minister R.L. Jalappa’s son was given ticket because he had nurtured a constituency.
Asked whether the Congress hardened its position against Ms. Alva to force her out, Mr. Moily remained non-committal even as other leaders pointed out that she had been given enough time to withdraw her remarks.
The only saving grace for her, they say, is that she has not repeated them and has studiously avoided the media.
On November 6, Ms. Alva openly questioned the presence of a number of relatives of party leaders among the candidates being fielded for the coming Assembly elections in various States. Her complaint was that a different yardstick was applied at the time of ticket distribution for the Karnataka elections when many a Congress leader’s relative — including her son — was denied a chance to contest.
Rahul rejects charge
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday rejected Ms. Alva’s charge and said he was “not unhappy” with the distribution of ticket. “I am not unhappy with the way ticket have been given” (in the Assembly elections), he told journalists.
To a query about his reported remark that he disfavoured ticket to children of leaders in the party, Mr. Gandhi said: “As a General Secretary, I have just made some recommendation in favour of younger boys [in ticket distribution].”