Rahul Gandhi defended his intervention on the ordinance that sought to protect convicted lawmakers from disqualification saying his "feelings and intention were genuine but the words and language he used were wrong."
"My mother told me that the words that I used were strong. In hindsight,
I feel maybe my words were wrong...but the sentiment I felt was not wrong," he said, justifying his stand on the ordinance which, subsequent to his public intervention, was withdrawn but left the government and his party embarrassed.
The Congress vice-president said this during an informal media interaction in Ahmedabad, Gujarat where he is on a two day tour to interact with block and district level Congress leaders in the state, considered as strong turf of Narendra Modi, chief minister and BJP's prime ministerial nominee.
"I always speak from my heart," he said, adding, "I have the right to voice my opinion and a large part of the Congress party wanted the same stand of withdrawal of ordinance."
On the Congress party's fifth consecutive defeat in the December 2012 state assembly polls in Gujarat, he said, "The defeat was not because of a powerful BJP but due to internal bickering and infighting in the state unit."
"Why am I being penalised for raising my voice on something that was wrong? Was I wrong?", Rahul said, apparently hinting at opposition BJP, besides some UPA allies, including Sharad Pawar's NCP and Farooq Abdullah's National Conference which had reportedly criticised the events that led to the reversal of the cabinet's decision.
"My point is detrimental to our allies," Rahul said when suggested RJD chief Lalu Prasad, jailed in a fodder scam case, would be the most unhappy person after what the Congress vice-president did to thwart the ordinance.
Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, which is supporting the UPA government from outside, had openly criticised rescinding of the ordinace.
Main opposition BJP has been most vocal and even demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying Rahul's outburst against the ordinance, which he had called "nonsense" and should be "torn up and thrown away", had undermined his authority.
"I spoke my mind on the issue, it is amazing to see reactions to it. I am flabbergasted," he said.
Earlier, the Congress leader began his tour with a small visit to Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. After spending half-an-hour in the ashram, he wrote in the visitor’s book, “Its always an honour for me to come to the ashram. I am a follower of Gandhi and his ideas. Thank you!."
Later on, he reached the state Congress headquarters where he interacted with Congress leaders from South and Central Gujarat areas.
During his interaction, the state Congress leaders were kept put while Congress affairs in charge Gurudas Kamat was present. During his interaction, he reportedly asked the local Congressmen why the party was not able to snatch away just 5% vote share from the BJP in Gujarat, which has been ruling the state since 1998.
He also attended a meeting of NSUI, students wing of the Congress, in Ahmedabad wherein he asked the NSUI leaders to focus on reaching out to the people in urban and rural areas.
On Thursday, he will visit Rajkot to hold the similar exercise of meeting Congress leaders from Saurashtra.
(With PTI inputs)
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