Sanjay Basak, Deccan Chronicle
New Delhi, 11 February 2012. A few weeks after a Delhi court threw out Janata Party president Subramanyam Swamy’s plea to make Union home minister P. Chidambaram a co-accused in the 2G scam, the Supreme Court’s move on Friday to uphold the government’s decision on Army Chief General V.K. Singh’s age row comes as a major political victory for the Congress-led UPA.
If the government was elated with the ministry of defence ‘welcoming’ the Supreme Court decision, the BJP went into a sulk.
What is being viewed as a desperate reaction, BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, while terming the incident as ‘sad’, said, “An issue which could have been resolved sitting within closed doors has now been dragged in the open before the public. We hold the Centre, the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi responsible for the incident.” The other Opposition parties, including Prakash Karat-led CPI(M) went quiet.
For quite some time, the government has been pushed to a corner both inside and outside Parliament over the 2G issue and also on the Army Chief age row. The Opposition had not merely boycotted the home minister inside Parliament over the 2G issue, but General Singh’s move to approach the top court had sent alarm bells ringing in the UPA corridor.
Politically, particularly with elections in five states, the Opposition had been trying to combine all the controversies plaguing the UPA into electoral issues. Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani had repeatedly questioned the government over the top ministers’ role in the 2G scam. The BJP had also attacked the government for its “failure” to handle the Army Chief age row.
The judicial verdicts, will not merely silence the Opposition for some time, but also help the Congress-led UPA to regain control over its allies like the Trinamul Congress, which has been relentlessly opening up fronts against the Centre.
If the electoral verdicts in the five states, somehow go in Congress’ favour, the party is likely to emerge much stronger and take a firm grip on the allies looking out for possible political re-alignment.
If the Supreme Court’s decision had gone against the government, it would have completely destroyed its credibility in dealing with the armed forces and could have seen a rise in litigation in service matters.
Similarly, a decision against Mr Chidambaram would have thrown the Centre into a major political crisis.