Is it wise for Priyanka Gandhi to stand by Chidambaram as major public opinion goes against him?

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday slammed the government over the action of probe agencies against former finance minister P Chidambaram, alleging that he is being "hunted down" as he speaks the truth which is "inconvenient to cowards".

In a two-part tweet Priyanka tweeted, “An extremely qualified and respected member of the Rajya Sabha, P Chidambaram ji has served our nation with loyalty for decades including as Finance Minister & Home Minister. He unhesitatingly speaks truth to power and exposes the failures of this government,”

Her expression of strong support to Chidambaram, who has also been a home minister, came a day after the Delhi High Court refused to grant him any protection from arrest in the INX media case. Hours after the High Court ruling, a team of CBI officers landed at Chidambaram's posh Jor Bagh residence to locate him, but left after not finding the senior Congress leader there.

But is Congress in a position to support Chidambaram?

While Congress is already facing existential crisis, Priyanka's support to Chidambaram can hit back the grand old party big time. Her reaction comes in the middle of a cat-and-mouse chase ongoing between the CBI and Chidambaram. Faced with one of the worst electoral performance in general elections, the Congress is confronted with an existential crisis that on the one hand threatens to make the country’s oldest party extinct and on the other propels it to reinvent and make itself relevant in the dramatically changed political landscape.

Soon after the Lok Sabha defeat, the Congress Working Committee had met, as was expected, to assess the reasons for the rout. State units had been told to do the same and apprise the central leadership of corrective measures taken.

Apart from the electoral losses, the party is struggling with a leadership crisis after Rahul Gandhi’s resignation as president. After many weeks of his resignation, the party hasn’t found a replacement but chose Sonia Gandhi as the interim president. This clearly indicates that the Congress has weakened itself organisationally. Most analysts have argued that the leadership vacuum at the top is the core cause of the crisis.

But now it's just not about Congress' existential crisis, the BJP-led central government is already out on a witch hunt, and seems like it is leaving no stone unturned to let go Congress leaders, who are surrounded by big scams or cases, presently its Chidambaram. While the Congress is trying hard to bring back the old glory days, it’s difficult for the party to keep up if their stalwart leaders get arrested or surround themselves in controversies. Even political analysts are against Chidambaram on INX Media case.

While Priyanka came out in support of Chidambaram other Congress leaders chose to stay away from the fiasco. But when the grand old party is already facing leadership crisis supporting Chidambaram might hit back the party big time as most of the public and political pundits are against the former finance minister. The party’s crisis will deepen more, if Congress supports Chidambaram if he is proved guilty.

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