Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday sent clear signals that she was fully behind home minister P Chidambaram as he faced flak from the opposition over his alleged role in the 2G spectrum scam and in a case involving his former client.
Gandhi's repeated thumping of desk each time Chidambaram replied to questions of members in the Lok Sabha when the BJP-led opposition tried to prevent him from speaking sent a clear indication that the party is fully behind him.
As the noise grew louder, Gandhi was seen nodding her head in agreement as an unfazed Chidambaram answered questions on human trafficking, National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) and the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, too, had already backed Chidambaram. "His statement is there for anybody to see, and he said that he is not guilty for the type of blame that is being sought to be placed on his shoulders," Singh had said on his way back home from a three-day visit to Russia on Saturday.
Demanding his resignation and accusing him of being as responsible in the 2G scam as former telecom minister A Raja, the BJP-led NDA had decided to boycott Chidambaram during the winter session.
On Tuesday, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha moved a privilege motion against the home minister on the ground that he gave a statement defending himself against charges of misusing his office to seek quashing of FIRs against a former client when Parliament is in session.
"He should have given a statement in Parliament and not outside," BJP leader SS Ahluwalia said. The decision to move a privilege motion was taken at a BJP parliamentary party meet on Tuesday morning in the presence of senior leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.
Ironically, the BJP has decided that Chidambaram’s statement outside Parliament constituted a breach of privilege despite the fact that the party has disrupted proceedings whenever he rose to speak on any matter in the past few days, rendering him inaudible.