With a handful of days left to the Lok Sabha polling, Congress amongst several other issues has witnessed a surge of leaders leaving the party and a number of others refusing to contest the elections. In this circumstance, comes the threat of one of their most loyal leaders, P Chidambaram to quit the party if his son Karthi was not given the ticket for Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu in the 2019 elections. The incident was reported by Rediff.
Karthi has been involved in the Aircel-Maxis scam which was unearthed during the investigation of the 2G scam. It turns out; he had been one of the beneficiaries of the scam. Since there are on-going investigations regarding his involvement, Congress doubted the candidature. Moreover, Karthi is undergoing criminal prosecution for a money laundering case involving INX Media.
Karthi had contested the 2014 polls from Sivaganga, a constituency that had been represented by his father in the 15th and 16th Lok Sabha. Following the Congress ideology of a dynasty, Karthi believed himself to be his father’s heir and felt Sivaganga to be his birthright. Unfortunately for him, democracy prevailed and he lost the election.
This time he again wants to contest but keeping in mind his recent arrest last month for the money laundering case, Congress had been reluctant. In this regard, Congress had released a list of 8 candidates from Tamil Nadu where they have an alliance with DMK. According to the alliance, Congress is supposed to get 9 seats, including Sivaganga. Congress had deliberately delayed the release of the candidate of Sivaganga as in the midst of all the controversies surrounding the party, they did not want to include Karthi and his criminal charge in the Congress clan. Nevertheless, Chidambaram refused to pay any heed and threatened to quit the party.
The former finance minister was reportedly quite upset over the delay and protested to Rahul Gandhi. According to media reports, the scene took place in the presence of three senior Congress leaders, A K Antony, Anand Sharma, and Ghulam Nabi Azad, who refused to speak of the unfortunate incident. However one of them did confirm that former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had argued Chidambaram’s case for 10 minutes, saying he was an asset to the United Progressive Alliance and this somehow implied that his son must be given a Congress ticket from Sivaganga.
Chidambaram went on to complain that Congress led by Rahul Gandhi was not offering any support to the leader. With the mounting tensions from the Modi government and several agencies behind him and his family, Congress was too giving him a hard time.
Rahul Gandhi did not have a choice in the circumstance as losing Chidambaram would be like giving up any possible hopes he has from the 2019 elections. Therefore, under immense pressure, the Congress president relented and asked General Secretary Mukul Wasnik to announce Karthi’s name from Sivaganga.
Karthi is a liability at this crucial stage for the Congress party and Chidambaram’s insistence on his candidature is against the interests of the party. This sort of move by a senior leader demonstrates the self-serving attitude of the Congress leadership. The underlying principle of Congress ideology is and will always remain a “dynastic attitude”. Whether or not a person is actually capable of leading the country or a region is irrelevant. Even in grave situations such as an on-going criminal prosecution, the birthright is all that matters. Chidambaram has been a respected financial leader and has been part of the core leadership of the Congress party. It is a sad day to see how loyalty for the party has taken a backseat and survival of self-interests is the priority.