Lack of clarity and tactical errors in its strategy appear to be the main reasons behind the government’s embarrassment in dealing with the situation which arose following the Supreme Court (SC) decision mandating immediate disqualification of convicted lawmakers.
The political upheaval which began soon after the July 10 verdict of the apex court culminated on Wednesday with the government withdrawing its controversial ordinance and the pending bill in Parliament.
This has brought curtains on the three-month long unsuccessful exercise to reverse the Supreme Court judgment. The government, in its initial reaction to the judgment, had made it clear that since majority of the political parties did not agree with the Supreme Court, it would strive for amending the Constitution.
Senior ministers were of the view that the SC had questioned the authority of the Parliament in its judgment by stating that “the Parliament had no power to enact sub section (4) of section 8 of the Representation of the People (RP) Act.”
This sub-section provided protection to the convicted lawmakers. The government decided to seek political unanimity on reversing the court judgment and at the same time also filed a review petition in the Supreme Court.
Predictably, the review petition was thrown out by the Supreme Court. There was, however, a shift from seeking an amendment in the constitution to merely proposing a change in the RP Act. This also could not be passed in the Monsoon session. After the session ended on September 7, the government made a quiet bid to bring an ordinance, which ran into trouble from unexpected quarters, President Pranab Mukherjee and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
The BJP scored a political point by its public opposition to the bill.