Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Congress to withdraw ordinance derided by Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: The Congress has decided to withdraw a contentious ordinance that allows convicted parliamentarians to stay in office, a proposal that was severely and publicly attacked last week by the party's vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Earlier today, Mr Gandhi met the Prime Minister and apologized for the timing and language and timing of his scathing censure, sources said. They added that Mr Gandhi explained his reasons for opposing the ordinance.

Dr Manmohan Singh, who met with senior party leaders this morning, then visited President Pranab Mukherjee, who had reportedly expressed grave reservations about the executive order, which is likely to be rescinded by the cabinet this evening. (Ordinance on convicted MPs legally untenable, President had been told: sources)

"It's collective wisdom. We got feedback from across the country," said Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury of the U-turn on the ordinance.

Earlier today, Mr Gandhi met the Prime Minister and apologized for the timing and language of his scathing censure, sources said. At a press conference while the PM was in the United States, Mr Gandhi derided the ordinance as "nonsense." (Watch what he said) The opposition said Mr Gandhi had insulted the Prime Minister while in the international spotlight, ahead of important meetings with his Pakistani counterpart and President Obama. (Rahul insulted PM, sack him: BJP to Sonia)

Sources say that while Mr Gandhi clarified today that he did not mean to undermine the authority of the PM or his cabinet, he made it clear that he was firmly opposed to the executive order.

Last evening, the Prime Minister said that it was the timing of Mr Gandhi's review - and not its content - that was a matter of concern. (PM indicates unhappiness with timing of Rahul's outburst)

"I have seen Mr Rahul Gandhi's statement. When issues are raised in democratic polity, the right course is to discuss the issues...There is no question of resigning," the PM said, adding that he is "not the master of what people say."
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