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The Real 'Intolerance' Over #National Herald

Unless the Supreme Court intervenes and provides relief, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have no choice but to appear before the trial court as accused

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The continuing theatrics, posturing and grand standing on the National Herald case confirms some things that were known: the most important being that the Congress Party is the personal and private fiefdom of the Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty. The swagger with which Congress President Sonia Gandhi said she is not scared because she is the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi revealed this reality in a deeply Freudian way. The manner in which family sycophants proceeded to disrupt Parliament protesting against the "politics of vendetta" of the Narendra Modi regime also reveals the real priorities of the party that once led the freedom movement in British India. The guile and sophistry displayed by the Congress "lawyers" also reveals the sheer hubris and arrogance of entitlement that was jolted yesterday by Justice Sunil Gaur of Delhi High Court. All these were in the realm of the "known".

There were also some things in the realm of suspicion: the (in) ability and (un)willingness of some sections of the mainstream media to play the role of a non-partisan messenger. Since last evening and continuing till the time of writing this column on the afternoon of December 8, 2015, large swathes of media have failed in their role and disgraced Indian media. Remember, the news yesterday was that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi became de facto "accused" in a criminal case. What could be bigger news than this? Imagine what would happen in the American media if a Superior court there decrees that Bill and Hillary Clinton must stand trial as accused in a criminal case that involves cheating and fraud? There were some channels that gave much more importance to Indo-Pak talks. There were also channels which suddenly found the tragedy of Chennai rains so overwhelming that they plumped for saturation coverage. Some others gasped over Shah Rukh Khan (whose new movie Dilwale is scheduled for release) donating Rs 1 crore to Chennai flood victims. Some channels went on and on debating the niceties of the #OddEven Policy. Sure, news channels covered the National Herald story. But even a fool could figure out where the sympathies of some famous journalists and news channels lay. The wonderful thing is that this kind of blatantly partisan coverage was by a minority of news outlets. The majority behaved, as they should, as messengers.

Worse, news channels seem to be reveling in repeating the preposterous charges made by Congress leaders including Sonia and Rahul Gandhi that the well-reasoned order of a senior judge of the Delhi High Court is a case of "politics of vendetta". The right response of journalists to these hysterical claims of vendetta should be more hysterical laughter: not the act of providing a platform to people who are brazenly mocking and denigrating the institution of judiciary. What has the Modi regime got to do with this case? It was the "maverick" and "lone wolf" warrior Subramaniam Swamy who made these allegations in late 2012. At that time, Modi was busy fighting the Gujarat assembly elections and even his die hard supporters were not sure if he would become the BJP candidate for Prime Minister; far from becoming the Prime Minister. It was Swamy who filed a case against the seven accused: Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda sometime in November 2012. It was in June, 2014 that a trial court found the allegations to have prima facie value and summoned the seven accused to appear before the court as accused for trial. This was after almost 18 months of arguments, pleadings and filing of documents by both parties. In July, 2014, the accused approached the Delhi Court with a plea to have the summons quashed. After another 18 months of arguments and submission of documents, Justice Sunil Gaur of Delhi High Court dismissed the petition of the seven accused. This author read the 27 page order that dismisses the petition. Everyone should read it. Some of the words used by Justice Gaur are so scathing and some inferences so damning that any accused should have cause for worry.

Unless the Supreme Court intervenes and provides relief, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have no choice but to appear before the trial court as accused. That is cause enough for the Congress to disrupt the Parliament. Miracles happen; but one can now presume that all important bills, including GST, will now have to wait till the Congress picks this "politics of vendetta" bone with the Modi regime. This is real intolerance, and of the worst kind.

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