Ordinance is nonsense, must be torn up: Rahul

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday startled the Centre by calling an Ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers “complete nonsense,” which could be “torn and thrown away.”

Making a dramatic entry at AICC communications department chairman Ajay Maken’s “Meet the Press” programme, organised by the Press Club of India, Gandhi said: “I will tell you what my opinion on the Ordinance is. It is complete nonsense. It should be torn and thrown away. It is my personal opinion.”

The Congress vice-president’s remarks cast aspersions on credibility of the UPA government, which decided to promulgate the Ordinance on Tuesday, a day before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh left for the US.

Ripples of Gandhi’s public assertion were felt in faraway Washington where Singh said issues raised by the Gandhi scion would be considered by the Union Cabinet on his return to India. The prime minister said Gandhi had written to him on the issue, but timing of the communication was not clear.

While Gandhi was airing his views, Union ministers Manish Tewari and V Narayanasami were defending the Ordinance in a separate media interaction. Even Maken spoke in favour of the Ordinance before Gandhi took over. 

“It is time to stop this nonsense, political parties, mine and all others...If you want to fight corruption in the country, we cannot continue making these small compromises. Because, if we make these small compromises, we compromise everywhere,” Gandhi said.

In an apparent bid to gain political mileage, BJP leaders on Thursday urged President Pranab Mukherjee not to sign the Ordinance.
The President subsequently summoned Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Law Minister Kapil Sibal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath for clarification. 

It is unclear why Gandhi did not oppose the Ordinance when it was being discussed. It is being speculated whether his suggestions were ignored by the Centre.

The Congress vice-president, however, admitted to have “heard arguments” in the Congress that the Ordinance was being promulgated “because of political considerations.”

 He made a hasty exit after ruffling a few feathers with his comment.Meanwhile, Maken was left red-faced as Gandhi went on to slam the Ordinance. He was, however, quick to toe the “party view” laid down by Gandhi. “Rahul Gandhi is an independent thinking person. He is our leader. The view of our leader is the view of the party,” Maken said.

Asked about the fate of the Ordinance, Maken said: “Rahul Gandhi has shared the Congress view, which should be supreme.”

“Situations evolve,” Maken said in response to questions whether there was a lack of coordination between the party and the government. He, however, junked speculations that Gandhi’s remark was a public snub to the prime minister.

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