Debating India

Cong. makes two key amends in its Constitution

Wednesday 19 May 2004

New Delhi, May 19. (PTI): The Congress today made two key amendments in its Constitution to enable Manmohan Singh to head a Congress-led coalition at the Centre, while unanimously electing Sonia Gandhi as Chairperson of the Parliamentary Party.

The Congress Parliamentary Party, which met this evening, adopted the amendments in Clause five of the Constitution under which there would be a Chairperson of the Congress Party in Parliament who would be elected by the party members in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, party spokesman S Jaipal Reddy, told reporters here.

Under the sub-clauses inserted in the Clause, the Chairperson would nominate two leaders of the party — one each for both Houses, apart from Deputy Leaders and Whips from amongst the members of the respective Houses.

"The Chairperson shall have the authority to name the Leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party to head the Government, if necessary", Reddy quoted the provision as saying.

The amendments were proposed by senior party leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister A R Antulay, and seconded by Arjun Singh.

The new provision enabled the unanimous election of Sonia Gandhi as the Chairperson, who named Manmohan Singh for the Prime Minister’s post.

While Gandhi’s name as Chairperson was proposed by Pranab Mukherjee, it was seconded by K. Karunakaran. She was elected unanimously.

A resolution was also adopted by the CPP authorising Gandhi to nominate the CPP leader, Reddy said, adding that the proposal was moved by G Venkataswami and seconded by M S Gill.

Addressing the hour-long meeting, Gandhi said she was "not going away" and intended to "discharge my responsibilities as a Member of Parliament, as a Chairperson of CPP and, above all, Congress President for as long as you all want me to".

"Let the world know that the Indian National Congress cherishes the values and integrity above everything else", she said, stressing the paramount importance putting in place a Government and running it.

"You all have placed your trust in me, you have authorised me to name a new leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party. I am happy to ask Dr Manmohan Singh to take on this great responsibility", she said.

Observing that she "admired his qualities of head and heart", Gandhi urged all Congressmen to give their unstinted support. "I am confident that we all together will work to build the 21st century India that was Rajivji’s dream".

See online : The Hindu

P.S.

in The Hindu, Wednesday, May 19, 2004.

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