Things may become tough for the central government if it decides to withdraw the ordinance seeking immunity to convicted legislators as its allies have begun to voice support for it, irrespective of what Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has to say.
Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday expressed his regrets to the Prime Minister for his remarks over the ordinance. But, sources said he still stood by his viewpoint on the issue.
According to media reports, after the UPA ally National Congress Party, now the Samajwadi Party has also made it clear that it is against the rollback of the ordinance which has been framed after due deliberation and consideration by the cabinet. Why should the UPA go by the Rahul’s viewpoint? -- is the common refrain in Samajwadi Party as in other allies.
A similar viewpoint was expressed by SP leader Naresh Agarwal. He said that his party was against the criminalisation of politics, but it didn’t believe in the conviction of a lawmaker by a lower court when it could be challenged in the higher court and revoked. “But we have no objection if the MPs are disqualified after the conviction has been upheld by the Supreme Court,” Agarwal told media.
There have been sharp reactions from the National Congress Party (NCP) camp too whose members feel Gandhi’s anti-ordinance outburst could be taken well by the Congress but not by the UPA government which passed it after due deliberations.
NCP spokesperson DP Tripath has already said that Rahul Gandh was free to say whatever he wished to the Congress party. “But, the government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is not a Congress government. It is the UPA government and I am sure Rahul Gandhi knows we are its allies and not his followers,” he told a newspaper.
Rahul had earlier this week said at a press conference that the ordinance is "nonsense" and should be "torn up and thrown away". Many saw this as an embarrassment for the Prime Minister and the Opposition vociferously demanded that Singh, who was on a visit to the US at the time, should step down after his return.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister had said a decision on withdrawing the ordinance would be taken only after consultations with Cabinet colleagues who had approved it. "I will discuss with my colleagues and see which way the wind is blowing."
The Prime Minister stopped short of admitting he was upset with Rahul for trashing an ordinance cleared by the Union cabinet, but could not hide his predicament over dealing with the situation. However, after Rahul’s reported regrets, things might move in the right direction, sources say but wonder what could the direction be—whether to rollback the ordinance or go ahead with UPA allies sentiments?