The Union home ministry under Palaniappan Chidambaram has been markedly different from that of his predecessor Shivraj Patil‘s. Gung-ho, proactive, media-savvy.
The minister himself pops up in chosen English TV studios now and then. The home secretary G.K. Pillai dashes off corrections, clarifications and assorted complaints.
Sometimes, Chidambaram himself shoots off a letter to the editor. In this case, to the editor of Hindustan Times, in response to a column by the TV interviewer Karan Thapar, on the controversial enemy property act.
Thapar’s “offending” paragraphs hinted at a potential conflict of interest.
“While this issue hangs fire what’s perplexing is P. Chidambaram’s role. In 2002, as a lawyer, he fought on behalf of a rival claimant to the Mehmoodabad property and lost. Eight years later, as home minister, his ordinance nullified the Supreme Court’s judgement. Should he not have recused himself from handling this issue?
“Sadly this is not the only crossed wire. As a lawyer Chidambaram presumably accepted that `enemy’ property can be inherited by an Indian citizen. As home minister his ordinance expunged that right. Isn’t this a sad and sorry situation? Doesn’t the government emerge poorly? And hasn’t Chidambaram behaved peculiarly?”
For the record, Thapar is one TV journalist with whom Chidambaram hasn’t sat down for a pow-wow for several months now.
Image: courtesy Hindustan Times