The second part of the Budget Session in the Parliament has now turned into some kind of nightmare for the Congress. As if the Ishrat Jahan case was not a big enough problem, the Congress now has to deal with the proverbial Death Star — the charges against its top leadership in the infamous AgustaWestland scam.
That 4 May is Star Wars Day seems oddly apt, since it is going to be quite a battle for the Congress. It is going to need all the help from The Force it can get to defend itself from the various allegations made or which are going to be made from people like Subramanian Swamy and Manohar Parrikar.
It is likely to be an extremely stormy day in the Parliament today. And here are the different aspects which could lead to that storm:
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's statements
On Sunday, Parrikar had said that he would place all the facts along with the detailed chronology about the controversial AgustaWestland chopper deal before Parliament on Wednesday.
"I will place the detailed chronology, giving facts about the chopper deal before Parliament on Wednesday. I will place the detailed chronology, giving how and when necessary clauses or provisions were relaxed to suit the company," he had told reporters in Panaji.
"Those who received kickbacks will not leave behind the proof for us to prosecute them, but we will have to prove it (that kickbacks were received)," he had said. "I challenge the Congress to show the UPA government's order blacklisting the AgustaWestland company. Let them reply first why it was not banned. It was during our (NDA) government that we banned it," he had further said.
The fresh charges against Congress
Rosemary Patrizi Dos Anjos, the lawyer of Christian Michel, the middleman in the AgustaWestland scam, had accepted on Times Now on Tuesday that her client had written a note naming Sonia Gandhi and describing her as 'driving force' behind the deal.
Moreover, BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had also accused Kanishka Singh, an aide to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, of being involved in the AgustaWestland scam, according to IANS.
He had accused Kanishka Singh of having shares in Emaar MGF Land Ltd, a real estate company that also has Guido Ralph Haschke, one of the accused in the AgustaWestland case, as its director.
— Kirit Somaiya (@KiritSomaiya) May 2, 2016
— Kirit Somaiya (@KiritSomaiya) May 4, 2016
Congress' strategy and the expected outrage
Ever since the second part of the Budget Session began, Congress MPs have disrupted the Parliament almost every time the AgustaWestland issue was discussed. There is no reason to believe they will not adopt the same strategy now.
"I am always being targeted, happy to be targeted," Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had said on Tuesday when asked about BJP MP Kirit Somaiya's letter to ED and CBI asking them to check Gandhi's links with a real estate developer allegedly involved in the CWG scam and also the alleged connections of his political aide with a middleman in the AgustaWestland deal.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi had held a strategy meeting with senior leaders on Tuesday evening.
A section of party leaders have been emphasising on a foolproof strategy so as to send home the message that the party was all for debating the issue but at the same time would not countenance muck-raking at the leadership.
At the AICC briefing, party spokesman Jyotiraditya Scindia had said that the party was all for debate on the issue in both Houses of Parliament to clear the air on the matter.
In the Lok Sabha too, Congress has given notices for a short duration discussion on the issue as also for a calling attention notice.
Moreover, AICC had alleged that Modi government "entered into a conspiracy" to "falsely accuse" the party leadership in AugustaWestland chopper case and made a "weak defence" in the Italian marines case as "quid pro quo".
Should the Congress manage to weather this storm, it will be a bigger coup than Order 66.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: May 04, 2016 12:08 PM