This is becoming very interesting.

On the one hand we have Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare harassing the UPA government on the corruption issue. On the other hand, a certain Mr Narendra Modi is spreading ‘Sadbhavna’, much to the irk of the Congress Party and people are discussing his candidacy as the future Prime Minister, with total disregard to the hereditary rights of the crown prince, Rahul Baba. 

Sonia Gandhi is said to be just back from an undisclodsed place after an unclear “operation’ for an unknown disease.

The ‘voiceless’ selected Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh is there but, as usual, in invisible and inaudible state.

And now we have a serious tussle between the two senior stalwart of the Congress party, out in the open. 

Mr Chidambaram has already been accused by Mr Subramanian Swamy for his involement in the 2G scam. The arrested Raja and Kanimozhi, both have sought to drag Chidambaram and even the PM into the scam.

The Congress Bureau of Investigation or CBI is dragging its feet on probing Chidambaram, even challenging the Supreme court’s authority. Perhaps it is a desparate effort to prevent the next target, Sonia Gandhi herself, to be dragged into the net as promised by Dr Swamy

This is such a diasspointment for the crown prince who vowed for the ‘honesty’ of several of his ministers that included Mr Chidambaram.

Seems, the Home Minister is heading towards a new home and be a neighbor of  the likes of Raja, Kanimozhi and Amar Singh.


In Pranab vs Chidu duel, it’s time to pull out the long knives

Sep 22, 2011

In politics, you can deal with your detractors in one of two ways: you can confront them directly and deliver a knock-out punch. Or you can sneakily administer death by a thousand cuts.

In the political tug-of-war within the UPA between Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram, Pranab-da has thus far preferred to slow-bleed Chidu. Now that it’s all coming out in the open, with the latest revelations that effectively tie Chidambaram ever closer to the 2G scam, perhaps Mukherjee should step up and deliver the knock-out punch.

The latest stunning revelation relates to an office memorandum sent in March 2011 by Dr PGS Rao, Deputy Director in the Finance Ministry to Vini Mahajan, Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, regarding allocation and pricing of 2G spectrum. The note, sent a month after former Telecom Minister A Raja was jailed, was evidently approved by Mukherjee, and effectively fixes Chidambaram.

The details of the note were revealed following a Right to Information request filed by activist Vivek Garg; the note, along with other documents are now before the Supreme Court, which is hearing a petition from Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy for a CBI investigation into Chidambaram’s role in the 2G scam case.

Alongside that legal track, political developments have acquired rapid momentum. Opposition parties, including the BJP, have stepped up their demand for Chidambaram’s resignation.

“The cat is out of the bag,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said on Wednesday. “It was clear all along that Chidambaram agreed to Raja’s formula for 2G spectrum allocation. If he had stuck to the finance ministry officials’ position, the scam would not have taken place.”.

The CPI too has demanded that Chidambaram’s role needs to be examined. The party’s national secretary D Raja noted that Chidambaram’s continuance in the Minister had, “morally speaking, become untenable.”

Predictably, the Congress rejected the demand for Chidambaram’s resignation and said “we do not, in any manner, accept” the allegation made by Swamy against him.

“The party does not doubt (Chidambaram’s) integrity… Without waiting for the court proceedings to be completed, it is highly objectionable and inappropriate for Dr Swamy or anyone else to pass premature judgement on the very same issue on which he is seeking relief,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told PTI. Singhvi said the “mischievous attempt” to create a rift between different constitutional functionaries is highly regrettable and ought not to be repeated.

Yet, the real problem for the UPA is the rather more ruinous rift between Chidambaram and Mukherjee, which has a long history.

Each has been sniping at the other for a while now on matters that relate to the other’s ministry. The level of distrust between them runs so deep that in September 2010, Mukherjee wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh complaining that his office had been bugged.

Although he did not invoke Chidambaram’s name, it was abundantly clear that he suspected the Home Minister of foul play. In fact, Mukherjee deliberately opted to have the Central Board of Direct Taxes sweep his office for bugs, rather than the Intelligence Bureau, which comes under the Home Ministry.

Prana-da has thus far limited himself to shooting off letters to the Prime Minister (or having his ministry write them) slyly incriminating Chidambaram. He thus far proved willing to strike but afraid to wound. Which only leaves Chidambaram as a slighted rival, never a good thing in politics.

But since politics is all about getting the timing right, and since the planets are currently lined so as to cause maximum malefic influence to Chidambaram, perhaps Pranab-da should go for the kill. It’s time to pull out the long knives.