New Delhi, The confrontation between the Congress and Centre over National Herald issue escalated on Wednesday, as Rahul Gandhi alleged “political vendetta” against his party coming out of PMO and BJP challenging him to prove it.
The Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha witnessed protests by Congress members against the government with the upper house witnessing repeated adjournments.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said it was the Congress that was playing “vendetta politics by not accepting the mandate of people”.
Expressing full faith in the judicial system, Rahul Gandhi told reporters, the truth will come out.
“(This is) one hundred percent political vendetta, pure political vendetta coming out of the PM Office. This is what it is. This is their way of doing politics. Pure one hundred percent vendetta,” Gandhi said.
“I have full faith in legal system of this country and we will see in the end what comes out. The truth will come out,” he added.
Asked if the Congress was trying to threaten judiciary with its protest in parliament, Gandhi shot back, saying it was the other way round. “Who is threatening judiciary we all know.”
Rahul Gandhi along with his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi will appear in the trial court here on December 19 in connection with BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s complaint in the National Herald case.
Minutes after Rahul Gandhi’s remarks, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy hit back at the Congress. “We are challenging the Congress whatever allegations Rahul Gandhi has levelled against the court and the PMO. He must produce all the evidences regarding this in the house and in front of the nation.”
“We challenge them. We can understand, in such a situation when they have been summoned by the court, out of anxiety, they are making statements which are undemocratic,” he said.
Naidu also attacked the Congress over remarks of its leader Ghulam Nabi Azad about democracy being in danger under the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government.
“Looking for excuses to stall parliament and preventing major legislations like GST bill is a clear case of vendetta politics. The Congress party wants to take revenge against the people of the country for giving absolute majority to a single party,” he said.
Naidu alleged that Congress was “seeking to convert a family problem into a national issue.
“Misusing parliament for family interests is the biggest threat to democracy and Congress should take responsibility for this,” he said, accusing Congress of “vendetta politics.”
The Rajya Sabha saw repeated adjournments for the second day Wednesday on the National Herald issue with Azad blaming the government for misusing the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and getting the case reopened.
“ED had shut the case. Subramanian Swamy and the government got it reopened,” Azad said.
“We have no charges against the judiciary… It is not the fault of the court, but of this government. On the direction of the government, the cases against all opposition leaders are being reopened, even if they are small cases,” he said.
He was countered by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi who said the opposition should start a discussion.
In the Lok Sabha, Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge accused Modi government of following different yardsticks on allegations concerning its own leaders and those of the Congress, saying that the opposition leaders were being harassed.
“There are two laws – one for the ruling parties and the other for the opposition parties,” he said. Congress members protested against the government by raising slogans.
The protests in the two houses started after Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed the plea of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to quash the summons issued to them regarding their personal appearance by a trial court on Swamy’s complaint in the National Herald case.
The trial court, giving relief to the Gandhis from personal appearance, on Tuesday asked them to appear before it on December 19.
On June 26 last year, the trial court issued summons to the Congress leaders on Swamy’s complaint about “cheating” in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL), which ran the National Herald, by Young India Ltd. (YIL) – “a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each own a 38 percent stake”.
The Congress claims no illegality was committed by party leaders in the case and alleges Swamy has been given a specific task of targeting the Congress.