Chidambaram under pressure

Chidambaram under pressure

This was the question that was doing the rounds in the political and government circles hours after the terror explosion sniffed out 11 lives at Delhi High Court, just a kilometre away from Chidambaram’s North Bloc office.

The terror attack was sort of a double setback because it was the second such blast at the same place in less than four months, showing that lessons have not been learnt. In Delhi, police falls directly under Union home ministry and not the state government. Like the UPA government, the blast came as one more low point in recent months for the otherwise high-profile minister, brought in to oversee the home ministry after the 2008 Mumbai blasts.

The July 13 Jhaveri Bazar terror blasts, in which nearly 25 people were killed, came amidst  questions over his role in the 2G spectrum scam as the then finance minister.

Then telecom minister A Raja, now under arrest for the scam, had told a Delhi court that Chidambaram was privy to several decisions relating to 2G. He went on to demand that Chidambaram be summoned as a witness.

As though this was not enough, Chidambaram was accused of mishandling the Hazare agitation, which put the government in bad light. Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley even pointed out that there were too many lawyers advising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He clearly meant Chidambaram, besides another minister, Kapil Sibal.

With complete misreading of the situation and strength of Hazare’s agitation and advising the prime minister only legally and not politically, Chidambaram, along with Sibal, were removed as interlocutors with Hazare and replaced by the UPA trouble shooter Pranab Mukherjee.

The sidelining of Chidambaram was complete as he – a known Parliamentarian - was not fielded by the government to speak during the debate on the Lokpal issue in Parliament on August 27.