Nearly two years ago, the BJP and RSS had backed Union home minister P Chidambaram’s ‘tough’ approach to naxalism. Ironically, as Parliament opened for winter session on Tuesday, Chidambaram’s attempt to answer a question on Naxal-affected areas was drowned in a din raised by the BJP.
The Congress brass doesn’t see this as a coincidence. They say the BJP announcement to boycott Chidambaram came hours after an SIT report termed Ishrat Jehan’s encounter in Gujarat as fake.
Defending Chidambaram, PM Manmohan Singh said, “There is virtually no case for a boycott.”
The Congress finds several reasons for the BJP’s turnaround. First — the need to keep the 2G fire smouldering when the government is lining up key legislation. Second, getting even with the home minister for his ‘professional’ handling of Hindutva terror cases.
As early as August 2010, Chidambaram had warned about Hindutva terror becoming a threat. Hindutva groups are accused of having set off the Malegaon, Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Dargah blasts. Many of the cases were transferred to the NIA under the home ministry. Congress leader Digvijaya Singh tweeted: “Chidambaram is being targeted by the BJP as he refused to slow down NIA investigation against Sanghi terror.”
The party also sees an attempted diversionary tactics in the BJP attack. There is a strong perception that the BJP is battling conflicting ambitions on the prime ministerial post for 2014. The recent spin in the 2G tale, alleged allocation of excess spectrum when Pramod Mahajan was the NDA telecom minister has worsened matters.
BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, however, insisted that the party believes that Chidambaram was as culpable as A Raja and the party would boycott him.