Chidambaram has long been among the most powerful politicians in India. As the Union Finance Minister, he signed off on, and in numerous cases initiated payments and policies of great expense and consequence to the public, and yet several leaders of the Congress are livid that the ED and the CBI have had the effrontery to question several of his clearly questionable actions while in power. Most disturbing is the fact that both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have backed Chidambaram, not 50% or 90%, but 100%. Surely, they of all persons must be aware of the manner in which Chidambaram filled regulatory agencies such as SEBI with yes men. Individuals whose only function was to sign on to any decision taken by Chidambaram without further discussion. Surely, they are aware of the goings on in the National Stock Exchange, in particular the co-location scam that has yet to have its primary perpetrators punished. Surely both Rahul and Priyanka are aware of the rapid manner in which Karti Chidambaram has increased his assets, or understood that it is possible that not all of such gains have to do with the son of the former Home and Finance Minister’s business acumen. Judging by the obedient manner in which both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra Gandhi have followed the instructions taken by Sonia Gandhi and her confidants, any expectation that the Congress has changed its 19th century mindset to something more closely resembling a mindset rooted in the 21st century is illusory. Rahul Gandhi went around the country casting doubts on the integrity of Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi without offering any evidence of such a grave allegation. A comparison of the lifestyles of the sisters and other close family members of the Maino clan with the lifestyles of the brothers and mother of Prime Minister Modi has never been attempted by any media channel in India or abroad, not even by those who swear daily about their commitment to accurate and comprehensive reporting. However, such a comparison needs to get carried out, for the same may yield clues as to why Congress president (past and present) Sonia Gandhi is so insistent in her condemnation of the manner in which investigative agencies have sought to hold Chidambaram accountable for his actions while in high office. The Lutyens Zone has long maintained the tradition of ignoring the transgressions of its members, no matter the political party to which they belong. Mutual protection combined with public abuse is the Lutyens rule, and this is what has been ignored by Prime Minister Modi, who has given the investigative agencies functioning under the BJP government freedom to act against VVIP corruption in a manner not seen during past years.
Chidambaram is the Union Home Minister who ordered the arrest of Anna Hazare, a selfless individual whom no one can accuse of corruption. He has gone after several individuals and institutions that stood in the way of his friends or himself. An enterprise that has generated several lakh jobs directly and indirectly was forced to its knees by Chidambaram bureaucrats simply in order to protect a business rival whose senior executives were close—in some cases very close—to then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. It is therefore a matter of concern that the Congress, which came into prominence as a consequence of Mahatma Gandhi, should seek to uphold the longstanding Lutyens tradition of immunity for wrongdoing. The very principle that has made hundreds of millions of concerned citizens regard the zone of supreme power in India as the “Lootyens Zone”. It was expected that the Congress would choose Priyanka Vadra Gandhi to be its next chief now that Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly expressed his disinterest in holding the job, or indeed any position of responsibility save that of being a Member of Parliament. As an MP, the public expected the former Congress president and his sister, the Congress general secretary, to support rather than to oppose belated efforts by CBI and ED to hold to account those whose actions resulted in the collapse of the Congress’ Lok Sabha tally to its present low position. As chief campaigner for the Congress Party, Mr Rahul Gandhi criss-crossed the country, covering towns and even rural areas in several states, warning of the havoc that corruption causes to the interests of the people. In particular, he targeted the Prime Minister. But now that PM Modi has taken action against VVIP corruption, instead of waiting for the inquiry to take its course, Rahul Gandhi is busy with the proposition that a Lutyens Zone VVIP should not be subjected to the same standards of accountability as any other citizen. This does neither him nor his party credit. The Congress needs to introspect on why it was so soundly defeated in 2014 and 2019 and institute remedial measures rather than cling to the past. Should it fail to do so, the country may indeed witness an India sans the Congress.