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Rahul's 'nonsense' statement creates furore

NEW DELHI< September 27, 2013, DHNS: 2:28 IST

Ruffled feathers: Opposition leverages on confusion to demand Prime Minister's scalp

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The BJP on Saturday demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh resign if he “has any self respect”, as it believes Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s embarrassing public outburst against the ordinance to shield convicted lawmakers from disqualification indicates the ruling party’s lack of trust in the government decision.

Surprisingly, even Congress ministers in the UPA government, including Jayanthi Natarajan and Shashi Tharoor, openly seconded Rahul’s personal opinion that the ordinance is “complete nonsense” and that “it should be torn up and thrown away”, which means they too by default are questioning the PM-led cabinet's decision to pass an ordinance to nullify a Supreme Court verdict seeking immediate disqualification of convicted MPs and MLAs.

“It is a desperate damage-control exercise. It's only when the revulsion has been built that the Congress is trying to cut its losses. It is a belated realisation of what the Congress now calls nonsense. The heads which brought out this nonsense twice over the last month must roll. It is a charade which shows the government can make a mistake, but the Congress' first family doesn't,” said BJP leader Arun Jaitley.

The BJP also hurriedly called a press conference and fielded spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi, who said, “If Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has any self respect left, I think he should call it a day, because the supercop who can correct the system has arrived on the scene.”

She, however, stated that in the past too the prime minister’s authority has been questioned.

The party is of the view that if the Congress' heir apparent Rahul had such strong views, he should have prevailed upon the government at the time of the bringing of the legislation, which the UPA introduced in Lok Sabha in the monsoon session.

It was subsequently sent to the standing committee owing to objections from the BJP, and then the cabinet. It is currently with President Pranab Mukherjee, who even a day earlier had sought clarification from the government on it.

The BJP took a dig at this disclosure, dubbing it a drama which the Congress vice-president has enacted before. “If you recall what happened during the Uttar Pradesh election, the manner in which lists were torn, we see a sequel of the same series. It comes on the eve of the 2014 election, and in that sequel we must understand that the Congress is trying to project an image which is worth watching, and that is a mockery of democracy,” said Lekhi.

The party had also met the President to submit a memorandum, asking him not to sign the ordinance as it was unconstitutional.

Outside the party, Rahul had got some support from new-found ally JD-U.

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