New Delhi: Home Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday ruled out his resignation in the wake of Madras High Court decision in the election petition against him saying the verdict was not a setback for him but for his rival.
He ridiculed the demand for his resignation by BJP President Nitin Gadkari and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha saying he was astonished by their "monumental ignorance".
Reacting to the demands of the opponents, he said those who make the demand for his resignation "do not have criminal case, do not have charges and have not been questioned under Criminal Procedure Code".
"I am astonished by the monumental ignorance displayed by certain political leaders. This is an election petition. There are 111 election petitions filed against members of 15th Lok Sabha," Chidambaram said.
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court today declined Chidambaram`s plea for dismissal of the election petition against him by the losing AIADMK candidate R S Rajakannappan in Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu in 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
But the court struck down two paras in Rajakannappan`s petition containing allegations against returning officer, government and bank officials.
Chidambaram said in the election petition against him, there were only allegations.
"Issues have not yet been framed. Trial has not yet started. Not one witness has been examined. At the threshold an application was filed to strike out pleadings.
"That application has been partly allowed and para 4 and 5 which contain allegations against returning officer, police officers, other government servants and bank officials have been struck out," he said.
The Home Minister said he sincerely hoped that political leaders will read Order 6, Rule 16 of the Civil Procedure Code and understand what is the meaning of `strike out the pleadings`.
"If pleadings are struck out, it is a setback to the election petitioner and not to me," he said.
Asked about the claim of the lawyer for Rajakannappan that except para 4 and 5, all other charges in the petition have been accepted by the court, Chidambaram said "pleadings have not been accepted. Now the trial is to start".
Replying to Jayalalitha`s charge that out of fear of facing the case he had moved court for dismissal of the petition only to delay the process, the Home Minister said "they (rivals) have not sought adjournments to the trial dozens of times.
"They have not approached High Court or Supreme Court dozens of times. Therefore, they are entitled to make these demands," he said.