The controversial ordinance on convicted lawmakers may have been withdrawn but the government faced heat on Thursday from both BJP and CPI-M who accused it of "mischief" and spreading "disinformation" over the stand taken by the Opposition.
As a controversy broke out over positions taken by the Opposition at the all-party meeting on August 13 on the Supreme Court judgement on convicted lawmakers, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley alleged the government is trying to spread disinformation that the Opposition had initially supported the Bill but did a volte face later.
Jaitley insisted that BJP has been against the move from the beginning. Forced by Rahul Gandhi's open trashing of the government, the Union Cabinet last night decided to withdraw the ordinance.
In an article posted on BJP's website, Jaitley said the party is constrained to clear the air as UPA ministers are allegedly "misleading" the people.
Referring to the all-party meeting, Jaitley said that at the end of the debate the impression conveyed to them was that the government would finalise some proposals that came up in the meeting and refer the matter to a Standing Committee for formulation of opinion.
"The government has tried to convey an impression that the BJP was in full support of the legislation which was proposed. In fact, only various options were discussed. I am constrained to set the record straight on account of his disinformation being spread by the government," Jaitley said.
He claimed Law Minister Kapil Sibal had later informed him that the government was planning to bring a constitutional amendment. He dissuaded the government from doing so.
Jaitley said the government then mulled amending Section 8(4) of the Representation of People Act but he opined that the changes being made would be unconstitutional.
Senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury accused the government of indulging in "mischief" and carrying out "selective propaganda" on the ordinance.
"While we don't know who is behind this, it shows how the government is selectively leaking" information on the August 13 (all-party) meeting in which, the government claims that all parties supported the bill, Yechury told PTI.
"This is mischief. Selective propaganda is being done by the government attributing some opinions to me," he said when asked about the minutes of the meeting which have been circulated to the media.
He also said that no minutes of the meeting have been circulated to the MPs who had participated in it. "As far as the CPI(M) is concerned, our position on the issue has been in the public domain."