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Has Chidambaram been left to fend for himself?

Last updated on: December 17, 2011 10:07 IST

In the wake of the all out attack on Home Minister P Chidambaram by Opposition parties, particularly the Bharatiya Janata Party, asking for his resignation and the fact that Parliament had to be adjourned for the second day on the issue of Chidambaram, has led to suspicions that it is being instigated by elements within the ruling party itself.

Sources close to Chidambaram are pointing a finger at Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, blaming him for the current troubles of the home minister.

These sources say that much of the information on the controversial 2G note came from the office of the finance minister and now in the latest charge of conflict of interest -- where he is reported to have backed a former client to get cases withdrawn against him -- is also being blamed at the door of the finance minister.

An angry Chidambaram has denied any conflict of interest and said that he has no interest in either this particular former client or any of the 25,000 clients he had during his long tenure as a lawyer.

Within the government and the party it is no secret that Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee are not exactly the best of friends and do not see eye to eye on many issues.

Within the party and the government no one is either defending Chidambaram or shedding any tears for him. It appears that he has been left to fend for himself.

Ajay Maken as the minister of state for home in his earlier avatar had complained against Chidambaram in a meeting which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called to hear the grievances of ministers of state. He had said that he is not given any work by Chidambaram and has been totally sidelined.

The same complaint was made by workers and leaders of Uttar Pradesh to Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, that the home minister was arrogant and did not attend to their complaints and requests.

It was then that senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who also has a running battle with Chidambaram, suggested to Rahul Gandhi that Jitender Singh should be sent to the home ministry so that the workers would be able to send their complaints to someone.

It was felt that this would also give them access to the proceedings in the home ministry which had been totally shut till then with Chidambaram calling the shots all the way.

In the changed scenario, because of Jitender Singh's credentials of being close to Rahul Gandhi, officers are also listening to him.

The manner in which Chidambaram virtually announced the creation of Telangana, putting the party in the hot spot, to mishandling the Ramdev episode, there is a growing concern that on political issues the home ministerĀ has not been able to deliver.

While once he was close to the prime minister and considered his blue eyed boy, today that status is also in doubt with the PM's men also regarding him with some degree of suspicion.

Sources in the Congress also say that Chidambaram will tide over the crisis, but the real crunch will come if one of the courts passes adverse orders againstĀ him. That will make defending the home minister even more difficult, who appears to be on a shaky wicket, fighting his battles alone.

Renu Mittal in New Delhi