'The Congress party is in an intensive care unit'
Congress president P V Narasimha Rao,
who has so far stone+walled persistent demands to discuss the issue
of corruption, will be grilled by dissident party leaders at
Friday's meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party.
It was P C Chacko, the vocal member of the Lok Sabha from Kerala,
who led the handful of Congress MPs to protest against Rao's dogged
refusal to deliberate on the corruption charges facing the party.
In an exclusive interview toRediff On The Net's George Joseph,
Chacko speaks of how
the barrage of corruption cases against Rao and some of his
former ministers have embarrassed Congress workers across
What ails the Congress party?
The Congress party is now in an intensive care unit.
Many of the party members have to be treated for the sickening
number of corruption and criminal charges against them. It is
high time we saved the party or else the country will fall prey
to communalists like the Bharatiya Janata Party. That is why I
have been relentlessly asking the party leadership to at least
discuss the issue of corruption among its members of Parliament.
We, the MPs, are answerable to the people in our constituencies.
Will dissidents in the party remove Rao this
Our mission is not to remove the party president, but to cleanse
the organisation of corrupt elements. It is sad that a number
of corruption and criminal cases are being investigated against
Narasimha Rao also. If it is found that Rao has been corrupt,
even he should go.
Do you think former Congress ministers amassed personal
fortunes in the name of the party?
Yes. That should be the precise reason why the investigating
agencies are after some former Congress ministers. It seems that
the Congress has now graduated from the 'suitcase culture' to
'trunk culture'. It is really sad that mindboggling amounts ofcash and jewellery have been unearthed from the residence of a
veteran party leader like Sukh Ram.
Did Sukh Ram accepted bribes to contribute to the party fund?
Who knows whether he has donated part of his booty to the
Congress to please the party leadership? Only he can answer this
question after he comes back from his foreign sojourn.
Do leaders like you think that Rao is corrupt?
I do not know whether Rao is personally corrupt or not. But
as party president he has the responsibility to save the Congress
from the shadow of corruption. What will we tell the people in
our constituencies on the corrupt tag that has come to stick to
the leadership? We cannot go on living like this, thinking that
the Congress will protect those who tread the path of misdeeds.
That is why I have forced the leadership to convene all party
MPs and discuss the crucial issue.
What will you tell the meeting?
I am going to say that many ministers in the Rao government
amassed personal fortunes in the party's name. The party,
therefore, cannot suffer for their misdeeds.
Will the party president listen to you?
The leadership has to listen to us because the Congress is
a democratic party.