BJP appears keen to go for Chidambaram’s jugular


New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday continued gunning for Home Minister P. Chidamabarm, as it protested in the Lok Sabha over his reading out a clarification from his son Karthi on charges about his business interests in telecom operator Aircel, saying it was against the rules.

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The party had Thursday attacked Chidambaram citing a newspaper report and Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy’s allegations and accused the minister of delaying permission for the sale of Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis in 2006 so that his son Karthi was benefitted financially.

Chidambaram termed the allegations reckless and stated that no member of his family had acquired a stake in a telecom company.

The latest allegations came days after the BJP’s attempts to nail down the minister in the 2G spectrum scam. The party had boycotted the minister in the winter session, demanding his resignation. Its chief ministers cited federal principles to slam the move initiated by Chidambaram to form the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).

A Congress leader said that the BJP was aiming to kill several birds with one stone by targetting Chidambaram.

“He is seen to be a pillar of the government. Attacking Chidambaram can bring the BJP closer to the AIADMK and help it expand the NDA (National Democratic Alliance (NDA),” the Congress leader said on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, analysts said that the BJP has to prove its charges on “material basis” to force its case against the minister.

“They have to materially establish if he influenced the policy on 2G licences,” said
Rizwan Qaiser, Associate Proferssor in the Department of History, Jamia Millia Islamia.

Qaiser said another reason for attacking Chidambaram could be the role played by the government in fast-tracking terror cases against Hindu right wing terror groups.

He said the attacks might be aimed at “de-legitamising” Chidambaram’s role as home minister.

“If they are not able to prove the charges, the attacks will be seen as politically motivated,” Qaiser said.

The latest attack by BJP on Chidambaram about the delay in permission for the sale of Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis came days after reports that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had told the Supreme Court that the trial of BJP leader L. K. Advani in the Ayodhya demolition case has to be carried out without dropping the conspiracy charge against him.

Qaiser said that BJP would not be happy about the development and “there possibly could be a link.” “But everything will have to be verified,” he said.

Political analyst Aswini K. Ray said Chidambaram was being attacked by the BJP as he “appears to be more vulnerable.”

“He was finance minister at the time of scams. He appears to be the weakest link in a weak chain,” Ray said.

Prof A. S. Narang of IGNOU said the BJP was using an opportunity to attack Chidambaram as Swamy has been making allegations against him.

“They will use any opportunity,” he said.

He added that the BJP will appear convincing if it is able to establish its charges against the minister.