Former minister of state for home Amit Shah's arrest has revealed an interesting facet of Congress's flexibility. One of the three local lawyers representing Shah in court for his bail is a senior Congressman - Nirupam Nanavati.
While some perceive it as a striking irony, Nanavati says it is strictly a professional brief.
But the Congress is perturbed nonetheless. While senior leaders did not comment, sources conceded that there was concern in the party over Nanavati's professional loyalty to the BJP leader.
Nanavati also represents GL Singhal, one of the IPS officers involved in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
"It was a known fact that Nanavati has been disgruntled for over a year now since another Congress loyalist Harin Raval was selected in early 2009 for the post of additional solicitor general in New Delhi. Then there was talk of giving him the ticket for Junagadh parliamentary seat in 2009, but eventually incumbent Jasu Barad was given the ticket. Nanavati had started preparations, which met a dead end," sources in the party said.
As the buzz of Nanavati perhaps bidding adieu to his long stint with Congress was doing the rounds, the lawyer stated that he had no desire to quit. "Representing Shah has nothing to do with politics.
Anyways Congress and UPA have asserted that this case has nothing to do with them politically, but completely monitored by the Supreme Court, so the Congress should not have a problem with my defending Shah. Moreover, it is a mark of my professional credibility that Shah has trusted me as his lawyer, despite my known and committed loyalty to the Congress of over 35 years," Nanavati said. Of Shah's other two lawyers - Mitesh Amin and Devang Nanavati - Amin is not affiliated with any party while Devang joined BJP in 2009.
Nanavati has had a very long and close association with Congress strongman Ahmed Patel as they grew together in Youth Congress. He started his career in Congress way back in 1975.
He was general secretary of YC, vice-president of YC, general secretary of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee and an AICC member. His father was also an active Congress man. However, Nanavati said that he is now not active in politics at all. "I'd like to reassert that I have always been and will continue to be a Congress voter," he said.