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Cong disowns ordinance after Rahul blasts govt

india Updated: Sep 28, 2013 03:47 IST
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With Rahul Gandhi slamming the ordinance against disqualification of convicted lawmakers, government is expected to take back the controversial measure, Congress indicated today, making a strong pitch for its rollback.

"Rahul ji's opinion is the opinion and the line of Congress... Now Congress party is opposed to this Ordinance. The views of Congress party should always be supreme," party's communication department in-charge Ajay Maken said when asked about the fate of the ordinance in wake of Rahul's views and whether it is likely to be withdrawn.

Soon after Gandhi denounced the ordinance as "complete nonsense" and which "should be torn up and thrown away", Special Invitee to Congress Working Committee Anil Shastri said on Twitter, "Rahul Gandhi's condemnation of the ordinance on convicted MPs/MLAs makes the GOI stand on this untenable & it must immediately withdraw it." In another tweet, he said, "to save itself from further embarrassment on its controversial ordinance, GOI must take remedial action to save its image in public eye."

Earlier, also some Congress leaders besides Shastri including Digvijaya Singh, Milind Deora and Sandip Dikshit had expressed their reservations against the move.

Deora, who is a Union Minister, had tweeted, "Legalities aside allowing convicted MPs/MLAs 2 (sic) retain seats in the midst of an appeal can endanger already eroding public faith in democracy".

Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit had also opposed the move.

However, the party's official spokespersons have been maintaining a different stand on the issue backing the government's move on the ordinance.

Not surprisingly, when Rahul Gandhi, in an unexpected appearance at a meet-the-press programme at the Press Club being addressed by Maken, slammed the ordinance, a clearly flummoxed Maken had to within minutes completely backtrack from his statement praising the ordinance as "perfect".

Maken sidestepped questions on whether Gandhi's remarks meant a "rebellion" against the government or a public snub to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government.'

"Rahul Gandhi is our leader. His views are views of the Congress party. The situation with any issue evolves with time and it has evolved and no one should have any objection to it," he merely said in reply to such questions.

"What Rahul Gandhi said is the most important thing... that this Ordinance will not help us fight corruption. He is our leader and I think this is our official political stand. Rahul ji's opinion is the opinion and the line of of Congress...Now Congress party is opposed to this Ordinance," he said.

Party spokesperson Raj Babbar had earlier hailed the Ordinance saying it was aimed at "protecting the dignity of the Constitution".

However, voices of dissent were raised with party general secretary Digvijay Singh saying on Wednesday that it would have been better had there been a political consensus on the ordinance issue.

"...In such controversial matters, it is always better to bring about a political consensus rather than pushing through an ordinance," Singh had remarked as BJP mounted an attack on the government, saying its decision to promulgate an ordinance on convicted MPs is an attempt to make "cheats, frauds, murderers" and the likes lawmakers.

Expressing his reservations on the ordinance, Shastri had said yesterday that such a move would negate probity in public life and harm the prospects of the party in the upcoming assembly polls in five states.