The controversial amendment to the Right to Information Act has virtually taken the heart out of Sonia Gandhi’s pet project of Right to Information Act.
Unlike the case of FTAs, when Sonia had openly come out against it by writing to the PM on the issue, this time there is no word from 10 Janpath so far to indicate what the Congress president feels about the amendment that restricts access to file notings.
But privately several Congress leaders admit that the Act that Sonia has often hailed as historic while urging everyone to make use of it to keep the administration, down the line, on its toes, virtually lies crippled -- a fact that she cannot be happy about, they say.
Officially, the party walked the tightrope when asked whether it supported the Centre’s move. "There is no question of our endorsing or not endorsing. It is a government decision and we are not in a position to dissent from that so long as the heart and soul of the Act is preserved," spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.
The "heart and soul," in his view, was that file notings dealing with social projects and development remained in the purview of RTI Act even after the amendment.
Yet at the same time, there was an effort to distance the party from the government’s stand was evident.
Asked whether the Congress was party to a decision, he said, "I don't think it is a Congress decision in any manner. It is a collective coalition government and the government takes the decision."