NEW DELHI (TIP): Former law minister H R Bhardwaj stunned Congress circles on March 26 when he attacked Sonia Gandhi for her alleged reluctance to share responsibility for the UPA government’s controversial decisions and former finance minister P Chidambaram for his “hypocrisy” in attacking Section 66A of the IT Act despite the fact that the contentious provision, which has been struck down by the Supreme Court, was drafted by the Congress-led coalition.
In a series of TV interviews, Bhardwaj referred to the summons issued to former PM Manmohan Singh in a ‘Coalgate’ case to say, “It is a matter of great sorrow that our leaders are getting summons from the court… those at the top level, including at the level of PM.”
Surprisingly, Bhardwaj, a known Nehru-Gandhi family loyalist, trained his guns on Congress president Sonia Gandhi for the legal troubles facing the party. “Does Sonia Gandhi not understand what happened, why it happened and who did it? Everything is known. That is the style. Sharing no responsibility and yet do everything,” an agency report quoted him as telling a TV channel.
He also claimed that Sonia was “in the grip of couple of sycophants and corrupt people”.
Although Bhardwaj defended Rahul Gandhi, his remarks cannot amuse the Congress because they mark an endorsement of BJP’s charge that Sonia remote-controlled UPA governments and was party to all controversial decisions.
The former law minister, known for outspokenness but who has been keeping a low profile after leaving as Karnataka governor, also targeted Chidambaram on Section 66A, marking the beginning of the blame game on the controversial provision which was struck down by the SC on Tuesday for being violative of the right to free speech provided for under the Constitution.
A day after the former finance minister welcomed the SC judgment saying the controversial section was poorly drafted and was vulnerable to misuse, Bhardwaj termed his statement as “sheer hypocrisy”.
Section 66A was not part of the original I-T Act enacted by the NDA government in 2000. The UPA government amended the Act in 2009 and brought Section 66A into force on October 27, 2009 when Chidambaram and Bhardwaj headed the crucial ministries of home and law.