Sonia sends terse reply to Hazare

New Delhi: In a terse reply to social activist Anna Hazare`s letter which charged her party with running a smear campaign, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday said she had already made her views clear on the issue in an earlier communique.

"I received your letter dated June 9, 2011. Since I was not in Delhi I could not reply to your letter. In the meantime, you have also made it public. I will get information in this regard. As far as the questions about the issues raised in the letter are concerned, I have already made my views clear in my letter dated April 19, 2011," Gandhi said.

Hazare had written the letter to Gandhi complaining against Congress media department head Janaradhan Dwivedi calling him an RSS-BJP "mask". The social activist had refuted these allegations and challenged the Congress, through this letter, to prove their charge.

He had termed this a "conspiracy" of the Congress and the UPA ministers to defame him, so that he loses his support.

He had informed Gandhi that he was hurt by these comments.

In her reply to Hazare today, Gandhi has mentioned the April 19, 2011 letter to him in which she had said made clear that she does not support smear campaigns against anybody.

"As for statements appearing in the media, let me assure you that I do not support nor encourage the politics of smear campaigns," Gandhi had said in her earlier letter.

She had also said that the Lokpal Bill is very much a part of the agenda of National Advisory Council, headed by her.

"I believe there is an urgent necessity to combat graft and corruption. You should have no doubt of my commitment in the fight for probity in public life. I strongly support the institution of a Lokpal that is consistent with the practices and conventions of our parliamentary democracy," Gandhi had said.