On Monday Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa visited Delhi. She met with her Delhi counterpart Sheila Dikshit. India’s biggest TV channel blared: “Will Jaya also meet Sonia?” Was the channel unprofessionally ignorant or was it colluding with the exercise to hide the furtive movements of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi? Earlier on the same day there was a statement issued by Mrs. Gandhi deploring the murder of a prominent journalist in Mumbai. Was all this being done to create the illusion in the public mind that Mrs. Gandhi was in India while she was not?
This is not the first time that Mrs. Gandhi has silently gone abroad in a manner best described as being furtive. Why the secrecy? What is the purpose of Mrs. Gandhi’s undisclosed visits abroad?
An RTI applicant Mr. Ramesh Verma had sought from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) details about the foreign visits of the Chairperson of the National Advisory Council (NAC) and Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. The Central Information Commission (CIC) forwarded the application to the PMO. “It seems the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry had informed that the Central government had incurred no expenditure on the foreign visits Sonia Gandhi during the last ten years,“ CIC Commissioner Satyananda Mishra has stated. The application to the PMO was received on February 26, 2010, transferred to the External Affairs Ministry on March 16, 2010 and then forwarded to the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry on March 26, 2010. However, it was not known by the Cabinet Secretariat whether the RTI applicant had been provided with the information that was sought. The CIC Commissioner criticized the PMO for its casual approach. The PMO did not obtain the information from the appropriate ministry after the query was specifically directed to it.
Congress leaders are frothing at the mouth demanding total transparency from members of the civil society. Probes have been launched against some of them. Should not the government display equal transparency pertaining to India’s most powerful politician who is the Chairperson of the ruling UPA coalition as well as the Chairperson of the government’s NAC? They need to answer the following questions:
- Did Mrs. Gandhi travel abroad on an airline or by a private jet? If the latter, whose jet was it?
- What was the purpose of the foreign visit made by the Chairperson of the NAC and the UPA?
- What is the itinerary of the NAC Chairperson? Which countries and cities did she, or will she, visit?
And while they are at it, our worthy Congress leaders may as well also address these ancient and perennial questions:
- Why does not the government refute the allegation made by a former member of the Soviet government’s official KGB Commission, confirmed by the official spokesman of the Russian government addressing the media, that the KGB had been donating funds to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s family, including her mother, since 1971? Why does the government not demand an apology from the author of the allegation and failing its receipt launch a defamation case against the author and the Russian government?
- Why do the government and the Congress party not explain the purpose of the meeting between accused money launderer Hasan Ali and the Political Secretary of the Congress President, Mr. Ahmed Patel, which meeting was investigated and confirmed by the Maharashtra police?
The public awaits from Congress leaders Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, Mr. Digvijay Singh, Mr. Kapil Sibal, Mr. Chidambaram and the rest, answers to these questions. Transparency, like charity, should begin at home.
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Title: Sonia Gandhi to undergo surgery
Congress President Sonia Gandhi has gone abroad, possibly to the U.S., to undergo surgery for a medical condition, which the party did not disclose.
Making a bare announcement, Congress General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi, told reporters in Parliament House that the 64-year-old leader was recently diagnosed with a medical condition and has been advised surgery.
“On the advise of her doctors, she has travelled abroad and she is likely to be away for two-three weeks,” he said.
Replying to questions, he said, “We have just got information that the surgery is successful and her condition is satisfactory“.
But later he clarified that the surgery has not yet been carried out and that it could take place in a day or two.
The doctors attending on her have to decide, he said.
He announced that Ms. Gandhi has decided that in her absence a group comprising Rahul Gandhi and senior leaders A K Antony, Ahmed Patel and Janardhan Dwivedi will look after party affairs.
Highly-placed party sources said Ms. Gandhi left India on Wednesday and will be away for two-three weeks.
The party, however, did not say as to in which country she has gone for the surgery or what is the medical condition.
Party sources had said on July 31 that Ms. Gandhi is down with viral fever.
Because of her illness, Ms. Gandhi could not attend meeting of the Congress Core Group as also that of the Parliamentary Strategy Committee, they had said.