Swamy on Sonia's citizenship

Published : Nov 22, 2002 00:00 IST

TAMIL NADU Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and Janata Party president Dr. Subramanian Swamy, apparently sworn enemies, are singing the same tune about the issue of Congres(I) president Sonia Gandhi's citizenship.

In an affidavit filed in the Delhi High Court, Swamy contends that Sonia Gandhi's citizenship of India is irregular and liable to be terminated because she did not submit with her application a certificate from the government of Italy that she had renounced her Italian citizenship.

Instead, she merely submitted a letter from the Italian Ambassador certifying the receipt of a letter from her about renunciation of her Italian citizenship. "A mere declaration by her is not enough, or a letter from the Ambassador of Italy, informing receipt of a letter of renunciation from her. Under Article 51 of the Italian Constitution, Italians are of two types: those residing in the republic and those not. Citizenship is not alienable," Dr. Swamy said at a press conference, releasing the contents of his affidavit.

Besides, he allegd that Sonia Gandhi had misled the nation and Parliament about her real name, identity, family background and educational qualification.

He furnished documents, issued by the Italian Ambassador on April 29, 1983, to prove that Sonia was not born in Orbassano, as stated by her and published in the Lok Sabha's "Who's Who", but at Lusiana, Italy.

Moreover, he said, she had never disclosed that her real name was not Sonia but Antonia, according to her birth records.

Sonia was the name given to her by her employers in London, he said. Not only this, he described her claim of having acquired a diploma in the English language from the prestigious Cambridge University, as stated in the "Who's Who", as false (Frontline, October 11, 2002). She had never enrolled as a student at that university, a fact that Sonia's office admitted later. Dr. Swamy said that Sonia's office had confirmed that she had secured a diploma in the English language from Cambridge, but not from the university. The office, however, claimed that the addition of "University"' in the Lok Sabha's "Who's Who" was "a typographical error".

Dr. Swamy said Sonia Gandhi had violated the Supreme Court directive to the Election Commission that candidates in an election must accurately state their educational qualification. "It is embarrassing for the Opposition that the Lok Sabha leader of Opposition has been caught having misled the nation about her true name, identity and family background," Dr. Swamy alleged.

The Congress(I), however, has chosen to ignore the issue. "We normally do not react to what Subramanian Swamy says," said a senior Congress(I) functionary.

Purnima S. Tripathi
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