The Law Is Above The Daughter-In-Law

The Law Is Above The Daughter-In-Law

Her arrogance notwithstanding, it is high time Sonia Gandhi realised that if the law could catch up with Indira Gandhi, it could very well catch up with her.

On 21 September 1996, the former Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao was summoned by special judge Ajit Bharihoke in the Lakhubhai Pathak cheating case. He was at the time also the President of the Indian National Congress. There were two options before him: appear in court as the Congress President and take the party’s reputation down with him, or resign from the post and face the music of the law alone. He fought tooth and nail to hang on to the party presidency. But the law was fast catching up with him. He soon realised that it was a lost cause since the number of his detractors in the party was swelling every day. He grudgingly resigned and within a couple of days, Sitaram Kesari, with the backing of Sonia Gandhi, was elected Congress president. As karma would have it, just two years after his coronation, Kesari would be ousted by Sonia and her coterie.

Will Sonia Gandhi be forced to resign from the party like Narasimha Rao was? The answer is a resounding no. There are no Sonia Gandhi detractors in the party as was the case with Rao. The Congress Party can’t think of leadership beyond the Gandhis. It would be blasphemous and spell doom for anyone in the party who would dare suggest such a thing.

When LK Advani was named in Hawala Scam in 1995, he had resigned from his Member of Parliament seat. But can Sonia Gandhi afford to resign from Congress presidency? This has also become difficult since the only person for whom she may step down is her son who also stands accused along with her in the National Herald Scam. The mother-son duo, along with some senior members of the Congress party, have been listed as accused of transferring crores worth of property from the shareholders of the National Herald newspaper to a section 25 company in which she and her son are the main shareholders. When the Congress was reduced to just 44 seats in the Lok Sabha last year, many commented that the party couldn’t sink lower than this. Today they all have been proved wrong. It has hit a new nadir.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Congress party workers had to put up a naked display of bhakti to the Gandhi family, literally and figuratively, before the courtroom drama began. But sadly enough, it won’t even make most of us flinch. We are used to it. It’s been going on for the last 60 years. Just another typical day in the politics of India.

The Gandhis have been granted bail. The petitioner in the case, Dr Subramanian Swamy, opposed the bail according to some media reports, but Swamy rubbished these rumours saying he only opposed any exemption, not the bail in itself, which means that every accused had to produce bail for Rs 50,000.

What unnerved everyone was what came next. The former Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, was among the battery of leaders who accompanied the accused as a show of strength. It seems, the Congress is not yet done with shredding whatever is left of Manmohan Singh’s dignity. And the former Prime Minister keeps volunteering.

Sonia Gandhi is not going to resign like Rao did since she is the ‘daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi and not afraid of anyone’. The comparison is uncanny because the last time a court tried to dictate the law of the land to Sonia’s mother-in-law,  she imposed a dictatorship and threw every dissident in jail, not to mention the blatant human rights violations involved. It’s a relief that the Congress is not in power otherwise who knows, the country might have been staring at another spell of dictatorship.

Indira Gandhi derived her arrogance from her post of Prime Minister and her belonging to the Nehru family. On the other hand, Sonia Gandhi derives her arrogance by virtue of being Indira’s daughter-in-law. It’s time she took some lessons in humility from her example. If a sitting Prime Minister can be fired as per the Indian Constitution for contraventions of the law, then she is just a leader of a party with 44 MPs.

Arihant Pawariya is Senior Editor, Swarajya.
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