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Congress supporters go berserk at party office

By Amberish K Diwanji in New Delhi
May 19, 2004 13:07 IST
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Congress supporters on Wednesday resorted to violent protests even as party general secretary Ambika Soni addressed a press conference in the presence of her party colleagues.

Soni managed to tell mediapersons at the party's headquarters in Delhi that the All India Congress Committee members and 200 MPs (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) have resigned protesting against party president Sonia Gandhi's decision not to be a contender for the post of prime minister.

Agitated party workers broke window panes and went berserk in the press conference. Many of them are believed to be from Rae Bareily, which had elected Gandhi with a sizeable majority in the hope that she would become the prime minister if the Congress-led alliance got a simple majority.

The press conference had been curtailed when this report was filed.

Party supporters had begun protests since the moment Gandhi made the announcement on Tuesday evening. They had gathered in large numbers outside her residence 10, Janpath urging her not to let them down and back out of the race on the issue of her foreign origins.

Some have also attacked mediapersons after some television channels carried reports that Manmohan Singh may be Gandhi's choice for prime minister.

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Amberish K Diwanji in New Delhi