Cong may take back ordinance protecting netas after Rahul's remarks

New Delhi: With Rahul Gandhi slamming the ordinance against disqualification of convicted lawmakers, the government is expected to take back the controversial measure, Congress indicated today.

"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 general secretary and communication department in-charge Ajay Maken said when asked about the fate of the ordinance in the wake of Rahul's views and whether it is likely to be withdrawn.

Rahul Gandhi. AFP

Rahul Gandhi. AFP

The Congress clearly appeared flummoxed by Rahul's stand as Maken, at a meet-the-press programme at the Press Club here, completely backtracked from his statement praising the ordinance as "perfect", made minutes before the party Vice-President took the stage and denounced the measure calling it "complete nonsense" and "wrong" on the part of the government.

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.

Before Rahul intervened during the press meet, Maken had dismissed Opposition criticism of the ordinance and downplayed the remarks of some Congress leaders including Digvijay Singh, Sandip Dikshit and Milind Deora, who opposed the measure.

He slammed the BJP for opposing the ordinance saying that it "should not try and make it a political blame game and take advantage of both the situations", noting that the opposition party does not have moral right to change its stand after backing all proposals at an all-party meeting in August.

Maken even credited the "collective wisdom" of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for UPA's actions.

He, however, later justified the U-turn saying "the situation with any issue evolves with time and it has evolved. Rahul has given an opinion on the issue and now it is the Congress view."

When asked whether the Prime Minister will now withdraw the ordinance that seeks to negate a Supreme Court verdict that struck down the provision in the Representation of the People Act deferring disqualification of convicted lawmakers, Maken refused to answer.

"I do not think I have an answer to a hypothetical question," he said, adding "Rahul Gandhi has aired the views of the common man. Rahul Gandhi is our leader and he had put across his views before you without any ambiguity".

He added that the Congress Vice President has spoken out his mind on a moral plane.

"Times have changed and people do not want to see any convicted person to be their representative. Rahul ji has aired the views of the common man. He does not want a convicted person to become a public representative...," Maken said.

To a specific question on whether Gandhi's remarks has reinforced that there are two power centres in Congress, He said, "Rahul has taken this stand on a high moral ground. He has not spoken just any technical thing. Gandhi has expressed his views on moral and ethical ground."


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Updated Date: Sep 27, 2013 16:49:43 IST

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