The Congress party is expected to up its ante in Parliament over the National Herald issue, when it reassembles on Tuesday, amid indications that its vice president Rahul Gandhi may be taking up the matter on the floor of Lok Sabha. Mr. Gandhi, who was in Tamil Nadu to meet the flood victims in Chennai, Cuddalore and Pondicherry alleged a “political vendetta” by the ruling BJP into the National Herald case.
“Well I absolutely see a political vendetta. This is the way the Central government functions, the way they think,” Rahul Gandhi told the press adding that he will not back down and will continue asking questions to put pressure on NDA at Centre.
“I am going to keep asking exactly the same questions I have been asking. I am going to put pressure on the government and I will continue to do my job,” he added while speaking to the reporters in Cuddalore while taking the stock of relief and rehabilitation to the flood victims.
Earlier in the day, his mother and the party chief Sonia Gandhi asserted that she was not “scared” of anyone, invoking the legacy of her mother-in-law and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Lending his reaction further, Rahul Gandhi said that he will speak on the issue after returning to Delhi where Parliament is in session.
Both the houses of Parliament witnessed strong protest by the Congress MPs over the issue, leading to several adjournments.
The issue snowballed after Delhi High Court on Monday rejected the petitions filed by the Gandhis and other office bearers of the Congress party seeking the quashing of summons issued by the trail court last year in National Herald case. The leaders are facing allegations of criminality in a complaint filed by senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy over the acquisition of the ownership of now-defunct daily National Herald by the charitable firm, Young India.
Dismissing Rahul Gandhi’s charges of “political vendetta”, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the incumbent Modi government had nothing to do with the case.
“No political vendetta. A private complaint was lodged. Government had nothing to do with it. The High Court has dismissed their case and asked them to go and face trial. Nobody in this country has immunity from law. They can challenge the orders in a higher court or face proceedings,” Arun Jaitley said.
The senior minister also criticised the principal opposition party over its protest leading to repeated disruption of Parliament.
Besides, Union minister Jitendra Singh took on Rahul Gandhi, saying his remarks of “political vendetta” amounted to the ‘contempt of court’ as it questions the independence and capability of the judiciary to make decisions.
“Judiciary should take cognisance of it. This is questioning the credibility and independence of the judiciary,” Jitender Singh said.
Earlier, in a seeming tactical shift in their strategy, top Congress leaders – Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi – told the trial court on Tuesday morning that they are “very keen, ready and willing” to appear in the National Herald case. The party had earlier on Monday said that they will challenge the Delhi High Court order of dismissing their petitions.
The Patiala House court has now directed all the accused in the case, the Gandhis and five others, to appear in person on December 19 at 3:00 PM.
(With the inputs from the PTI)