BENGALURU: In the backdrop of the Enforcement Directorate’s summons to Congress leader DK Shivakumar’s daughter Aishwarya, party president Sonia Gandhi met Shivakumar’s brother, Member of Parliament DK Suresh. Sources indicated that the 30-minute meeting at 10 Janpath, Sonia Gandhi’s residence, was “significant” not only because DKS has already been detained by the ED in an alleged money laundering case (the second prominent Congress leader facing intensive probe in cases of alleged financial irregularities, after P Chidambaram), but also because the KPCC may be rejigged soon.
Sonia Gandhi is said to have reached out to Shivakumar’s family once before, when he was hospitalised, prior to the ED taking him into custody. But that was only through a phone call to Suresh. This time, she gave Suresh an audience, despite the ED spreading its dragnet. According to sources, the Congress president assured Suresh of the party’s support to DKS. The Congress has termed the custodial interrogation of its prominent leaders by the CBI and ED as ‘political vendetta’. It seems that’s exactly what Sonia told Suresh — that the party “is aware of the ruling dispensation’s agenda”.
The Congress has been accusing the BJP government at the Centre of “using” the investigative agencies to settle scores with its critics and political opponents, as also “to create an atmosphere of fear”. The Congress party has repeatedly put forward the point that the BJP has “selectively turned the agency heat’’ on its leaders, while allowing “tainted” politicians in the BJP fold to go scot-free.
The BJP, of course, has vehemently denied these charges. However, there’s no denying that the sudden fast-tracking of investigations into long-pending corruption cases against high profile Congress leaders, months before elections to three crucial assemblies — Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand — have indeed hobbled the GOP. Its image is further besmirched in public perception, as a party that indulged in corruption, and little else.
On the organisation front, sources claimed that Sonia’s meeting with Suresh could also be seen as her attempt to send a solidarity message to the powerful Vokkaliga community in Karnataka, to which the DKS family belongs. The community has organised a protest in Bengaluru on Wednesday, backed by the local Congress unit and its ally, the JDS. If speculation is to be believed, the Congress high command is likely to accommodate one of the brothers in a leadership position in the local unit.