The Congress threw its weight behind Salman Khurshid even as political newbie Arvind Kejriwal upped the ante against him over allegations of misappropriation of funds.
Senior ministers such as Ambika Soni and Ghulam Nabi Azad ruled out any isolation of the law minister while the party rejected outright any demand for his resignation.
The party’s defence has come after considering various aspects, say senior leaders. It felt that buckling under pressure would provide further leeway to Kejriwal. “If Khurshid steps down, is there any guarantee that Kejriwal...would not try to draw more blood?” said a party leader.
Party general secretary Digvijaya Singh slammed Kejriwal for violating ethical norms.
“There are ethics in politics. Never attack family. The Congress never attacked AB Vajpayee’s son-in-law or LK Advani’s son and daughter. They have a private life of their own,” he told NDTV.
Singh also alleged that Kejriwal had met him years ago seeking a position in the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council. Kejriwal, however, dubbed the allegations as "lies".
Strongly backing Khurshid, I&B minister Ambika Soni said: “There is no question of his isolation.” Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad added: “He (Khurshid) has made it clear that there is nothing wrong.”
Congress sources pointed out that in 2010, the party had asked then MoS for external affairs Shashi Tharoor to step down after his alleged involvement in the IPL scam. “But the BJP still kept up the pressure. We can’t give in under political pressure,” said a senior leader.