Describing the continuance of Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the Union Cabinet as a “blot on Indian democracy” in the light of the Madras High Court rejecting his plea over an election petition, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa on Thursday demanded that he resign or, if he refused to quit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sack him.

In a statement here, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said it was her party's position that Mr. Chidambaram won the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Sivaganga “in a fraudulent manner.” She recalled that she had been reiterating the position ever since Mr. Chidambaram was declared winner three years ago. Last year too, she made this point.

She claimed that Mr. Chidambaram had filed the petition in the High Court “out of fear” to face the case and to “delay the judicial process.”

Counsel's response

Meanwhile, T. Sathyamurthy, counsel for Mr. Chidambaram, claimed that the High Court had partially accepted the petition [of Mr. Chidambaram seeking deletion of certain pleadings made in an election petition filed by AIADMK candidate R.S. Raja Kannappan]. It had removed two crucial paragraphs — paragraphs 4 and 5 — of the election petition. The paragraphs contained allegations against the Returning Officer, other government servants and bank officials, and alleged ‘corrupt practices.' “These pleadings [mentioned in the poll petition] have now been struck out.”

Mr. Sathyamurthy said the correct position was that the court had not expressed any view on the merits of the allegations and had only struck out two crucial paragraphs on the ground that they did not comply with the strict law of pleadings. “As regards the other pleadings, issues will be framed and the trial of the election petition will begin. It is pertinent to point out that the trial of the election petition has not yet started and the case is at a preliminary stage,” counsel said.