THOUGH the fact that the Congress party is planning to seek a review of the premature release of the accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case is genuinely intriguing, it nonetheless matches the persona of the party that has lost its sense of direction in the past few years. Of course, the Central Government has already filed a petition with the Supreme Court of India seeking a review of the decision to release the accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Awakened belatedly by a dark political possibility of not making any such move, the Congress has awakened belatedly to seek a review of the decision. Now, the party will examine the possible modalities to proceed with joining the existing petition seeking review -- and then decide its course of action, as stated by senior Congress leader Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi. In other terms, the party has not actually and finally made up its mind about the course of action it may take in this regard. This is strange by any standard, so to say.
Another strange is the volte face the party seems to be making. For, the party high command formed by the Sonia-Rahul-Priyanka Gandhi family had talked of pardoning the accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case languishing in jail in Tamil Nadu. That news had shocked the nation no end. Yet, defying all principle of common sense and justice, Mrs. Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra had gone all the way to the prison to have a word with the accused -- and reportedly telling them that the family of the late Rajiv Gandhi was all willing to pardon them and would be happy if they were released from prison.
Obviously, the Gandhi family appeared to pander to the political demand for the early release of the accused in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Obviously, that was a political move that shocked the rank and file of the Congress party as well as common Indians. As the demand grew stronger, and was put up to the then Governor of Tamil Nadu Mr. Banwarilal Purohit, things reached a strange crescendo. Yet, the Governor referred the matter to the President of India since he possibly felt morally unwilling to allow an early or premature release of the accused in Rajiv assassination case.
Yet, routing the effort through the Supreme Court, interested parties secured the premature release of the accused -- which shocked the nation no end. The Centre’s petition seeking a review of the Supreme Court decision came out of that sense of shock as well as moral commitment to justice. The Centre felt that a premature release of the accused in the case of assassination of a former Prime Minister and a national leader was contradicting the principle of justice. Hence its application.
The time of a few days passed after the Centre’s petition and then the Congress party apparently woke up from its slumber. That it is now working on the modalities means there still is not a complete consensus on the issue within the party’s inner. In all likelihood, the party may not finally join the Centre’s review petition as an intervener or seek its review.
These details are truly intriguing, to say the least. The nation felt a sense of deep shock when the Congress first thought of pardoning the accused. The common people asked simple questions: By what authority or right can the Gandhi family or the Congress party seek a premature release of the accused? Is it enough that they are the family or the party of the assassinated leader?
When the news got circulated that the Gandhi family was contemplating sort of a pardon to the accused, there was a strong antagonism against such a move. Now, for whatever reasons, the some elements in the Congress may have got awakened to the political reality that it is only offending a larger number of Indian people by seeking a premature release of the accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The indication that it may move a review petition or join the existing petition came probably out of a belated sense of awakening that something wrong was happening at the behest of the Gandhi family and the Congress organisation.
Whatever may the motivation be, it is obvious that the overall political thought-process of the Congress is nothing less than intriguing to the comprehension of the common man.