With Congress veteran P. Chidambaram spending his 74th birthday on Monday in Tihar Jail, political statements against the BJP would not be unexpected by his well-wishers.
On Monday, his son, Karti Chidambaram, the MP for Sivaganga, decided to adopt the medium of a long letter to apprise the former Union home minster about current affairs. Karti was careful to include comments that left little to the imagination about the fact that they were aimed at the BJP.
Karti began his letter by stating "no 56!! can stop you", in an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who once boasted of having a "56 inch" chest.
After noting P. Chidambaram was "never one" for grand celebrations, Karti wrote "nowadays in the country, we seem to be making grand celebrations out of everything." Karti said, in such a setting, Chidambaram turning 74 "was nothing compared to turning a 100 days old", in a jibe at the Modi government's celebration of 100 days in power. Karti even panned the media, noting it was "once upon a time the fourth pillar of democracy, but much needs to be said about their independence now".
Karti then wrote about various events since Chidambaram's arrest on August 21 by the CBI. These included the Chandrayaan-2 landing attempt, the lockdown in Kashmir, the government's defence against GDP growth concerns, NRC, the tussle in the British Parliament over Brexit and even the US Open final. What was noteworthy was the fact that Karti made statements on all these issues that can be perceived as criticisms of the BJP.
Karti referred to Modi comforting ISRO chief Dr K. Sivan with his "iconic head grab" after the Chandrayaan-2 lander failed. Karti wrote, "I sincerely hope our prime minister pegs the achievements of our ISRO scientists a little about what his bhakts believe... along with plastic surgery and aviation was created above". The statement appears to be a reference to Modi's claims a few years ago about plastic surgery being used to transplant an elephant's head on to lord Ganesha.
Karti also referred to Railways Minister Piyush Goyal as snatching the "theory of gravity away from Newton", in a jibe at the minister's claim that Einstein had discovered gravity without maths.
Karti also targeted Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's observations on falling auto sector sales, noting, "I'm sure you would greatly appreciate... Nirmala Sitharaman's astute insight that the economic slowdown has been principally caused by the millennial's preference for ride-sharing apps.”
Karti referred to the lockdown in Kashmir, drawing similarities to how his father had been arrested. However, he added, that Chidambaram was "far better off than the people of Kashmir who are still under a government-imposed communication blackout". Karti noted that his father was allowed visits by his family and could pass on messages to the public.
Karti also referred to the move by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to suspend Parliament for the purpose of Brexit negotiations, alleging, "Johnson seems to be taking lessons from our PM—how to deal with dissent 101".
Karti lauded the courage of British MPs in protesting the move, contrasting it with the attitude of the Modi government "that wants to send you straight to Pakistan if you utter a word of dissent or worse into the arms of the CBI and ED".
Karti also referred to Chidambaram's statement on choosing liberty over life as he wrote about the continuing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Karti brought up the US Open final between Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev, stating after the match, "Nadal then shook hands with Daniil Medvedev, the way civilised opponents should. Not get vindictive and punish them for no cause".
Karti ended the letter by declaring he had faith Chidambaram would "come out guns blazing against this elaborately staged political drama".