PM to meet Prez on Wednesday over ordinance

A hurt Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to meet President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday, a day after he returns from his official United States trip, to explain the peculiar situation he now faces, owing to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s unexpected outburst, displaying his objections on an ordinance cleared by the Cabinet to shield convicted politicians from expulsion.

Government sources said the prime minister will land in New Delhi at around 9 pm on Tuesday and is likely to meet the President the following day to also pick the mind of Mukherjee, who too has strong reservations on the constitutional validity of the ordinance, which was brought at a time when a similar bill was pending before the Parliamentary Standing Committee. 

Mukherjee is also leaving for a three-day visit to Brussels and Turkey on Wednesday, and that is why the Singh wants to interact with him on this key issue on that day, explained government sources.

Rahul’s remarks, describing the ordinance as “nonsense” and one which should “be torn and thrown away”,  was viewed as “self-inflicting” as well as degrading his own democratically-elected government, especially at a time when Singh was engaging global leaders in the United States.

The President has refrained from signing the ordinance, which may now be recalled by the government due to Gandhi’s objections.

Government sources said that after the meeting, Singh may convene a meeting of his Cabinet to take a final call on the fate of the ordinance, which he had stated from the United States as part of his reaction to Rahul Gandhi's outburst. 

Congress leaders indicated that Singh was unlikely to offer his resignation in the wake of the public upbraiding of the government by Rahul on the issue. “I have a gut feeling that he will not go,” said a senior leader. However, he was quick to add that it was highly unlikely for Singh to offer his resignation.

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