Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Friday the National Herald matter was being “driven by the Prime Minister’s office” and would be handled legally.
In a court case, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has accused Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul of fraud, cheating, misappropriation and criminal breach of trust in acquiring the assets of a company that had published the National Herald, a newspaper founded by Jawaharlal Nehru.
“It’s a non-profit company and it’s very clear. Let’s see what happens on the 19th,” Gandhi said. A Delhi court recently asked Sonia and Rahul to appear before it on December 19 in the case.
The continuing confrontation between the Congress and the government has seen the main Opposition party forcing repeated adjournments in Parliament.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley has said the “answer to the Congress leadership landing up in a ‘chakravyuh’ (in the National Herald case) is to fight their battle legally and not disrupt parliament”, while Congress leader Ashwani Kumar told the media that the government was indulging in a “politics of intimidation” and “assault on liberal values”.
With the passage of crucial Goods and Services Tax bill looking increasingly uncertain amid the standoff, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there were several measures for the poor, other than the crucial GST bill, pending in parliament. “People only talk about the GST and parliament, but there are several other measures also for the poor that are pending in parliament,” Modi said.
Rahul Gandhi also hinted at the Congress weighing the option of alliance with regional parties to prevent the BJP from assuming power in Assam. The onus, he added, was on Gogoi and APCC (Assam Pradesh Congress Committee) president Anjan Dutta.
“After the result in Bihar, I am very confident that the Congress will return to power in Assam,” he said.
Taking part in the APCC’s extended executive meeting later in the day, the Congress vice-president made light of Modi’s Gujarat model of development.
“The Congress swept the rural areas in the Gujarat civic polls, and this has pricked the Gujarat model balloon. If everything is right with Gujarat, why is the strongest community (Patel) there agitating?” he said, calling Modi a ‘nation-breaker’ heading a government with a divisive agenda.
Earlier, the Congress vice-president said the focus of the Congress was on empowering women who “can ensure positive changes in the society”.
(With inputs from agencies)