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Govt, Cong come in defence of Chidambaram

Cong came in defence of PC rejecting opposition demands for his resignation in wake of a petition challenging his election to Lok Sabha in 2009.



New Delhi: Government and Congress on Thursday came in defence of Home Minister P Chidambaram rejecting opposition demands for his resignation in the wake of the Madras High Court order that declined to dismiss a petition challenging his election to Lok Sabha in 2009.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid ridiculed the BJP for demanding Chidambaram`s resignation over the issue.

"Should the Home Minister get a resignation printed because they demand it on a daily basis or should he give it on the internet? BJP wakes up in the morning and says that the Home Minister should resign.”

"God knows how many times the Home Minister would have resigned had he accepted whatever BJP said," he told reporters on the sidelines of a conference.

Party General Secretary Digvijay Singh also backed the Home Minister on the issue. "What case he (Chidambaram) has lost? It`s an election petition. He has not lost a case, which has anything to do with his working as the Home Minister," Singh said.

On AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa`s statement that Chidambaram should quit as his continuance will be a "blot on democracy", the AICC leader said, "As far as Jayalalithaa is concerned, it is a political issue. The Election Commission has declared Chidambaram as elected and that is it."

Noting that elections can only be challenged through an election petition, Khurshid said that media reports were giving an impression of it being a criminal trial, which is not the case.

He said that it is only through an election petition that it can be probed whether there is any flaw or wrong-doing in an election, any violation of the election law.

"Issues are raised in an election petition, trial happens and then a decision is taken after evidence. Then an appeal is made. Even an appeal can be filed in the Supreme Court on this order. Even if any decision comes, anybody can file an appeal against it," Khurshid said.

He said, "Some mistake is being made when the word trial is being used.”

"Somehow an impression is being given that it is a criminal trial. It is not that. It`s an election petition trial. Just like there is a civil trial, there is an election petition trial and some order has been passed in that regard," Khurshid said.

The reactions came as the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday declined to dismiss a petition challenging the election Chidambaram to Lok Sabha in 2009 but struck down two charges of malpractices against him.

Disposing of a plea by Chidambaram seeking dismissal of the petition filed by AIADMK`s Raja Kannappan, who lost to him from Sivaganga constituency by a margin of 3,354 votes, Justice K Venkatraman ordered removal of two of the 29 charges.

The two charges pertain to alleged use of bank officials and banks in relation to Chidambaram`s election.

PTI

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