100% political vendetta coming out of PMO: Rahul on Herald case
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100% political vendetta coming out of PMO: Rahul on Herald case

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday again accused the government of indulging in “vendetta politics” even as party MPs disrupted business in the Lok Sabha for the second consecutive day with raucous protests.

india Updated: Dec 09, 2015 22:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Rahul Gandhi,National Herald case,PMO
File photo of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi during winter session of Parliament in New Delhi. Gandhi accused the PMO of ‘100% political vendetta’ in the National Herald case on December 9, 2015.(Hindustan Times)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi launched an all-out attack on the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday, describing the National Herald funds misuse case against him and his mother, Sonia Gandhi, as “pure political vendetta coming out of the PMO”.

The Gandhis may have to appear in a Delhi court on December 19 to face allegations that that they illegally acquired property worth crores belonging to the now-defunct National Herald newspaper in a case that disrupted Parliament for the second consecutive day.

“One hundred per cent political vendetta. This is pure political vendetta coming out of the PMO. It is their way of doing politics,” Rahul said outside the Parliament House a day after he accused the government of playing vendetta politics and trying to silence his criticism of its policies. “I have full faith in judiciary. We will see at the end what comes out. Truth will come out.”

Lawyers representing the top two Congress leaders have told the trial court that the Gandhis will appear before it on December 19.

The uproar sparked by the case threatens to derail the government’s legislative agenda, including the crucial Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, as it needs the Congress-led Opposition’s support in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling alliance is in a minority.

Asked about the government’s charge that the Congress was using Parliament to threaten the judiciary through disruptions, Rahul said, “It is the other way round. Who is threatening judiciary, we all know.”

Watch | Rahul Gandhi says Herald case is ‘100 percent vendetta from PMO’

The government hit back, daring the Amethi MP to provide proof on his allegations instead of stalling Parliament.

“We will ask Rahul Gandhi, if he has courage enough, if he has honesty enough, if he has standing as a leader of his political party, he should come to Parliament and give proof,” said Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

While no business could be conducted in the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha functioned and even passed a bill despite ruckus by Congress members who parked themselves in the Well throughout the day.

The Prime Minister sat in the lower House during the entire Question Hour as Congress members kept shouting slogans like “down with Gujarat model, down with Modi model and down with Hitler-like dictatorship”.

The principal opposition party once again got support from the Trinamool Congress and the Janata Dal (United) but, interestingly the Rashtriya Janata Dal of Lalu Prasad stayed away from the protests.

Later in the evening, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who was accompanied by poll strategist Prashant Kishor, called on Sonia at her 10, Janpath residence to wish the Congress president on her 69th birthday.

Modi too greeted the Congress chief. “On her birthday, greetings to Congress President Smt Sonia Gandhi. May Almighty bless her with long life & good health,” he tweeted, while President Pranab Mukherjee praised Sonia for her “immense service to the country and stellar contributions” to all aspects of public life.

In the Rajya Sabha, leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the government of misusing the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in getting the National Herald case reopened on the directions of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and called it “murder of democracy”.

“It is not the fault of the court, but of this government... which changed the ED chief and reopened the case,” he said. “So my charge is that on the direction of the government, the cases against all opposition leaders are being reopened, even if they are small cases.”

In the Lok Sabha, when Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge mentioned VK Singh’s reported “dog” analogy while commenting on the death of two Dalit children in October, Sonia and Rahul were visibly angry to see the Union minister “laughing” in the treasury benches.

“A man who has no respect for Dalit children has no right to stay in the government,” Kharge said.

Though he targeted the ruling BJP over a slew of scandals including Vyapam, Lalitgate and the Chhattisgarh rice scam, as well as raids on Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh, Gujarat Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela and cases against former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Kharge did not mention the National Herald issue in his short speech during Zero Hour.

Read | Herald case: Cong accuses govt of vendetta politics, disrupts Parliament

First Published: Dec 09, 2015 13:59 IST