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Rahul behind ouster, makes intent clear on corruption 

New Delhi: Behind Rana Gurjit Singh’s resignation from the Punjab Cabinet is a message by Congress president Rahul Gandhi to the state leadership: “Corruption, even perceived, won’t be condoned.”His message was clear and was bound to result in Rana Gurjit’s ouster. It was soon after Rahul’s elevation as Congress president on December 16 last year that the picture on Rana Gurjit began to become clear within the Punjab Congress circles, with Rahul airing his “zero tolerance for corruption” line to both CM Amarinder Singh and Congress incharge for Punjab Asha Kumari.It was left to Asha Kumari to get the directions of the central leadership implemented. A source said Rana Gurjit would have been sacked had he not offered his resignation. A decision that he needs to go was taken this weekend, as reported by The Tribune in its columns on Sunday.The party allowed the Power and Irrigation Minister a voluntary exit by way of a resignation pending inquiry against him in sand mining row which blew over eight months ago.There was a growing feeling in the Congress that Rana Gurjit had become too much of a liability to carry so early in the party’s term in Punjab.“Perceptions matter and it had become important to act. We have a government in Punjab and we have to speak for what we stand. Through the Rana Gurjit episode, the Congress president has given a firm message to the entire party. The message is that this is a new Congress where corruption, even if perceived, will not be tolerated and action, if necessary, will be taken. People can always continue their politics if they come out clean but while there are blemishes they must step down. Rahul has conveyed a no-nonsense approach in the matter,” a senior Congress leader said, adding that former party chief Sonia Gandhi used to have a more compassionate approach in such cases.A final call on Rana Gurjit’s resignation will be taken only after Amarinder meets Rahul in Delhi on January 18. Asha Kumari today told The Tribune, “Since ministers are appointed with the concurrence of the Congress president, it is natural for the CM and the state leadership to bring a ministerial resignation to the notice of the high command before taking a final decision on it.”

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