The ruling BJP trod a fine line Tuesday, distancing itself from party leader Subramanian Swamy who has filed the National Herald case against the Congress leadership but at the same time noting that there seemed to “prima facie a criminal breach of trust”.
“There is no political vendetta in the National Herald case. A private complaint has been filed and the government does not come into the picture,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told a press conference in Parliament House: “Everything is before the court, the government has no role… The BJP would like to clarify we are not in the picture.” He added the Congress’ response did not address the allegation against its leadership, which according to him was “prima facie a criminal breach of trust”.
Prasad alleged the Congress has used the courts summons to Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others to “settle a score” with the government. When journalists reminded him Swamy is a BJP leader, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said there were 10 crore members in the BJP and Swamy had filed the case before the NDA came to power.
BJP leaders also attacked Sonia Gandhi for asking the media to decide who the culprit was. BJP leaders said it is for the courts to decide who is wrong; “the media is a messenger”. Terming Sonia’s remark “awfully wrong”, Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said: “Particularly on a matter where money collected by a political party is used for a commercial purpose, as it is prima facie of some penal codes violated, that is what the court has to go into and prove as per the evidence before them.”
BJP leaders have ruled out any chance of Congress being able to use the showdown a launchpad to its resurgence, especially in the wake of Sonia’s invocation of late prime minister Indira Gandhi. “First of all, I don’t trust the Congress party being nostalgic about its past. The India of 2015 is different from the India of 1977 and Sonia Gandhi is not Indira Gandhi,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad.
A combative Sonia Gandhi had said: “I am the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I am not scared of anyone.” Sonia was referring to the late prime minister’s arrest in 1977.
Union minister Jitendra Singh attacked Rahul for terming the case “political vendetta” and alleged it amounted to contempt of court because it questioned the independence and capability of the judiciary to take decisions. “The judiciary should take cognisance of it. This is questioning the credibility and independence of the judiciary. People are thinking this is what they have been doing all this while, as the Congress feels the judiciary can be used. This is their subconscious mind speaking,” Singh said.