"A peculiar confluence of interests between the chief adjudicator and the prime accused". This is how the Congress described the NDA-supported presidential nominee Bhairon Singh Shekhawat's preference in having the "Volcker tainted" Natwar Singh as the prime proposer of his candidature.
Last May, the Congress party had petitioned Vice-President Shekhawat to seek Singh's disqualification from the Rajya Sabha membership on grounds of indiscipline.
Shekhawat has not only been aware of the pending disqualification issue, but has full knowledge that he alone is the sole and competent authority to decide in the matter in accordance with the 10th schedule of the Constitution, said Congress spokesman Abhishekh Manu Singhvi. The convergence of interests that has seemingly emerged between the two at this stage smacks of constitutional impropriety and is not only unethical and unprecedented, but also unheard of in parliamentary history, he added.
The Congress petition, submitted in May, had been returned on technical grounds. The petition was re-submitted to the Rajya Sabha Chairman's office on Tuesday. The Vice-President's office did not formally respond to allegations made by the Congress. However, sources close to him pointed out that the Congress petition had been re-submitted today, while Shekhawat had filed his nominaiton papers a day earlier.
Singhvi, meanwhile, said that Congress Chief Whip V Narainswamy had held a half hour discussion with Vice President Shekhawat in May to specifically discuss the matter concerning Singh's disqualification. He pointed out that during the last session of Parliament, the Congress party had denied permission to Natwar Singh to speak on the nuclear issue on grounds that the disqualification petition was pending. On that occasion, the Vice President had honoured the position of the Congress chief whip and had not permitted Singh to speak.
"What can be more amazing than the Vice President's decision to align with an individual who was canvassing for the Samajwadi party till the other day and is now searching for a political party," Singhvi asked. He said that by doing so, the Vice President had thrown constitutional propriety to the winds.