Leaders asked not to come to Delhi on December 19: Congress

New Delhi, Dec 17 (IANS) The Congress on Thursday said its leaders and supporters have been directed not to throng Delhi on December 19 when party president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi are scheduled to appear in a trial court here in the National Herald case.

“The Congress has made it clear to everybody that they should not come to Delhi on December 19 (Saturday),” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters here.

Azad’s remarks came amid speculation that the party may put up a show of strength on Saturday to express solidarity with its two top leaders.

Azad, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, indicated that the party will avail of all legal options, including bail, in the National Herald case.

“The Congress president and vice president have full faith in the judiciary and full faith in the law of the land. Whatever we shall have to do as per the law, we will do,” he said.

There were reports that the two Congress leaders may not seek bail, if asked by the court.

The party, however, asked its members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to stay put in the national capital during the weekend.

Asked about the issue, Azad said such instructions were given as the party wanted its parliamentarians to be present in full strength during the last few days of the winter session that ends on December 23.

The Congress leader said as parliament did not function normally and as the session was slated to end next week, some MPs could possibly decide to stay in their respective constituencies.

Party sources said many leaders from various states were expected to arrive in Delhi on their own on Saturday and converge at the party’s central office at 24, Akbar Road.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will appear in the trial court here on December 19 in connection with BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s complaint in the National Herald case.

The Delhi High Court this month dismissed a plea of the Gandhis to quash the summons issued to them for personal appearance by a trial court in the case.

The trial court later asked them to appear before it on December 19.

On June 26 last year, the trial court issued summons to the Congress leaders on Swamy’s complaint about “cheating” in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd., which published the National Herald newspaper, by Young India Ltd., “a firm in which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each own a 38 percent stake”.

The Congress said no illegality was committed by the party leaders in the case. The party alleged political vendetta on part of the Centre and claimed that Swamy had been given the specific task of targeting the Congress.

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