Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi would rather go to jail than apply for bail or sign a personal bond when he appears in court on December 19 in the National Herald case.
He made his stand clear on Wednesday, drawing parallel with his grandmother, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who was jailed in 1977 by the Janata government of the time.
Party leaders, including its president Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul, have been summoned by a Delhi court on a complaint against them by the BJP’s Subramanian Swamy for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the defunct National Herald newspaper. The Congress have called the case a “proxy litigation” and alleged “political vendetta” by the NDA government.
The Telegraph quoted Congress party sources as saying that Rahul would not seek bail as he is ‘convinced’ that the Narendra Modi-led government “plotted” the legal trouble for his mother and himself.
“Sonia and the other accused, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Sam Pitroda and officials of Young India, the company in control of the Herald’s assets, are expected to apply for bail but Rahul is likely to say it is a witch-hunt and refuse to take bail,” a source was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
At a strategy meeting on December 9 chaired by Sonia Gandhi, party leaders resolved to escalate the issue and fight it out both legally and politically.
The meeting decided that Congress MPs would continue with their protests inside the Parliament and “frustrate the government’s efforts” to push its legislative and reforms agenda, a leader, who took part in the deliberations, told Hindustan Times. The Congress’s aggressive stand has cast a shadow on the crucial goods and services tax (GST) bill that is awaiting Parliament’s approval this winter session.
Speaking outside the Parliament on Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi said: “It’s 100% political vendetta coming out of the PM’s Office. It is their way of doing politics. We have full faith in the judiciary (to come clean in the National Herald case).”
A day earlier, party president Sonia Gandhi set the tone. “I’m the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi, I’m not scared of anything,” she said when asked to comment on the Delhi high court’s refusal to grant her and son Rahul exemption from a personal appearance at the trial court.
Indira Gandhi’s arrest was a turning point in her attempt to regain public sympathy then as she defied arrest by Delhi policemen in what was alleged to be vendetta by the Janata government.
The Congress hopes that Rahul’s move will work in similar favour. As it appears, the party has gained some traction from its allegation: the Centre’s “political vindictiveness against the Congress leadership”. The Trinamool Congress is already backing the grand old party.