Sonia, Manmohan visit P Chidambaram in jail; discuss economic slowdown

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 26, 2019 Published on September 23, 2019

As long as the Congress party is strong and brave, I will also be strong and brave, P Chidambaram tweeted

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited their long-time colleague P Chidambaram in Tihar Jail here on Monday.

But the Congress is yet to take a decision on the possible steps if more of its leaders face arrest and jail on corruption issues. The party also has no plans so far to remove the corruption tag attached to it by the BJP during its campaigns.

Senior leaders indicate that even Gandhi’s and Singh’s decision to visit Chidambaram was taken without much consultations at the top level. Party insiders said that the protests planned in October are limited to the economic policies of the government, not against the “witch-hunt” targetting of Opposition leaders. Senior leaders Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad had met Chidambaram last week. Following that, senior leader Jairam Ramesh had held a press conference defending Chidambaram. Gandhi and Singh met Chidambaram along with the arrested leader’s son and Lok Sabha member Karti Chidambaram.

Later, Chidambaram tweeted “I am honoured that Smt. Sonia Gandhi and Dr. Manmohan Singh called on me today. As long as the @INCIndia party is strong and brave, I will also be strong and brave,” he said. “Bharat mai sab achha hai (Everything is fine in India). Except for unemployment, loss of existing jobs, lower wages, mob violence, lockdown in Kashmir and throwing Opposition leaders in prison,” he said. Karti Chidambaram said the leaders’ visit will give the strength and support to their political fight.

During the 30-minute meeting, the leaders learnt to have discussed the current economic situation and the decisions by the Centre such as cutting the corporate tax. While some leaders such as Ramesh welcomed the move, the Congress had officially criticised the decision to reduce corporate tax.

October protests

Congress sources said there were no discussions on strengthening the protests that demand highlighting of Chidambaram’s “plight”.

“The Congress Working Committee met recently had discussed his arrest. Chidambaram is being targeted for raising voice against economic mismanagement. But our October protests have nothing to do with his arrests. It’s against the economic policies of the Centre,” an AICC functionary said. He added that the media does not highlight the Congress’s stand on Chidambaram’s arrest. He also agreed the visit of Singh and Gandhi was not pre-planned.

Another leader said everyone in the party is concerned about Chidambaram. “This can happen to any leader of the party. But the party has no plan to bring people on the street to hold protests,” he said.



Published on September 23, 2019
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