June 8, 2012: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said that the Madras High Court's order on a case pertaining to the validity of his election, in 2009, from the Sivaganga parliamentary constituency in Tamil Nadu, was not a setback for him, but a setback for the petitioner.
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, he told reporters in New Delhi 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 went a step further and argued that “the verdict was not a setback to him but for his rival (AIADMK candidate Raja Kannappan in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Sivaganga).”
On Thursday, the Madras High Court refused to entirely strike off an election petition filed by AIADMK's losing candidate R S Raja Kannappan.
After having lost the election by a narrow margin of over 3500 votes, Raja Kannapan filed the election petition leveling several allegations of malpractice against Chidambaram.
In his petition, Raja Kannappan claimed that Chidambaram had mobilised funds from various banks to spend on poll campaign.
Within hours of the Madras High Court rejecting Chidambaram's plea for dismissal of a petition questioning his election to the Lok Sabha in the 2009 polls, the BJP asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to drop him from the Cabinet as he had lost the ‘moral authority' to continue as Minister. However, the Congress firmly stood by Chidambaram. The Home Minister rejected the demand, saying that he was ‘astonished at the monumental ignorance' of the Opposition.