The BJP and Congress traded barbs on Tuesday after the opposition party accused it of engaging in “politics of revenge” and “petty vendetta” over the National Herald’s case in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi were summoned to make a personal appearance in court.
Both Houses of Parliament were disrupted several times in the morning as Congress parliamentarians accused the government of targeting party chief Sonia and her son, vice-president Rahul Gandhi, in the case.
When reporters asked her earlier in the day if the case reflected political vendetta, Sonia Gandhi said: “I leave it on you to judge.”
BJP minister Nirmala Sitharaman was quick to respond to the Congress chief’s comments. “Sonia Gandhiji’s is awfully wrong, media doesn’t decide as to who’s right or wrong.”
Amid slogans of “tanashahi nahi chalegi (dictatorship will not be tolerated)” and “badle ke rajneeti nahi chalegi (politics of revenge)” in the Rajya Sabha, junior parliamentary affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi questioned if the Opposition has a problem with the government or court.
“If the case is related to the House, the government could answer. If it relates to courts, they should go to the court.”
Parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu said it was “unfair and undemocratic of the Congress to disrupt Parliament on account of a case in court”.
Another BJP leader and Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the government has no role to play in the case.
“The National Herald case is under court’s jurisdiction, government has no role to play in it,” he said.
A trial court on Tuesday provided the Gandhis temporary relief, asking them to appear before it on December 19. The Delhi high court on Monday dismissed the Gandhis’ plea to quash the trial court’s summons issued to them on allegations of illegally amassing property worth crores belonging to the defunct National Herald newspaper.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who filed the case, said the Gandhis are out of luck now as the Supreme Court won’t intervene in the trial.
The Congress had decided to move the top court but Swamy filed a caveat to pre-empt any ex-parte order on appeals likely to be filed by the Gandhis
“If they want to try their luck in the Supreme Court, I think they have very little chance, because two courts have held that there is a prima facie case. So, the Supreme Court will not like to intervene with the trial process,” Swamy said.
Congress spokesperson and lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is representing Rahul in the case, alleged that it was political vendetta. “We have seen it in a number of cases, from Virbhadra Singh during the wedding ceremony of his children to Mr Chidambaram and several other examples.”
(With agency inputs)