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India's Gandhi quits parliament

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India's Gandhi quits parliament


There is surprise in India after Sonia Gandhi, the head of the ruling Congress party, resigned her seat in parliament and a paid post on the national advisory council.

India’s constitution bars members of parliament from holding an office of profit – any government post that entitles them to pay and perks. Gandhi said her decision to quit was in line with her “standards of public morality and personal values.” Analysts say she is saving face after Congress was reportedly instrumental in forcing the resignation of a member of the upper house over the “office of profit” issue. The National Advisory Council was created to advise the current coalition government on policy matters. Its members are not paid salaries. Sonia Gandhi has headed it since she led a communist-backed coalition to election victory but declined the post of prime minister, which went to Manmohan Singh. Gandhi distanced herself from politics following the 1991 assassination of her husband Rajiv, who was prime minister. But in 1998 she returned to the political scene and a year later won her seat in parliament – which she now intends to stand for in six months’ time.
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