NATIONAL

Cong. bid to pacify Satpal Maharaj

NEW DELHI, JAN. 20. The Congress today moved fast to bring around the disgruntled Uttaranchal leader, Satpal Maharaj. The former Union minister had reportedly sent in his resignation on Saturday in protest against the list of party candidates released by the AICC. ``We are confident that things will be sorted out to everybody's satisfaction,'' the AICC general secretary, Ambica Soni, said.

The Congress leadership reportedly deputed veteran leader, N.D. Tewari, and the AICC general secretary incharge of the State, Ghulam Nabi Azad, to convince the disgruntled leader. Mr. Maharaj wields some influence in Garhwal area and has the potential of damaging the party's prospects. The Congress stands a reasonable chance of winning in the Assembly polls in the State and the leadership is keen to ensure that differences do not queer the pitch. It is also conscious of the fact that some NCP leaders have established contact with Mr. Maharaj in a bid to win him over to the party. The disgruntled leader is apparently unhappy that not only have a number of his recommendations been ignored, but preference has been given to some of his detractors, who had worked against him during the last Lok Sabha polls.

Mr Azad, along with Ms. Soni and some senior leaders from the State, were busy all day reworking the Uttaranchal list. It is likely that the Uttaranchal list could be reviewed and some of the names changed in order to accommodate Satpal Maharaj. Mr. Azad told The Hindu that he was confident of sorting out the matter by today evening. ``It's a very small problem, we will sort it out soon''.

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