Reacting to the Opposition demand for his resignation in the wake of the Madras High Court rejecting his plea for dismissal of an election petition against him, an assertive Home Minister P. Chidambaram told journalists here on Thursday: “Issues have not yet been framed, trial has not yet started and not one witness has been examined. I am astonished by the monumental ignorance displayed by certain political leaders. This is an election petition. There are 111 election petitions filed against members of 15th Lok Sabha,” he told journalists here.
He went a step further and argued that “the [High Court] verdict was not a setback to him but for his rival [AIADMK candidate Raja Kannappan of the AIADMK in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Sivaganga].”
Mr. Chidambaram said that in the election petition there were only allegations.
The Minister said he hoped that political leaders would read Order 6, Rule 16 of the Civil Procedure Code and understand what was the meaning of ‘strike out the pleadings'.
“If pleadings are struck out, it is a setback to the election petitioner and not to me.”
Asked about the claim of Mr. Raja Kannappan's lawyer that except paras 4 and 5, all charges in the petition had been accepted by the court, Mr. Chidambaram said “pleadings have not been accepted. Now the trial is to start.”
Replying to AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa's charge that he had moved the court out of fear of facing the case and only to delay the process, the Minister said sarcastically: “They [rivals] have not sought adjournments to the trial dozens of times. They have not approached the High Court or the Supreme Court dozens of times. Therefore, they are entitled to make these demands.”