Six days after Rahul Gandhi caused a political storm by speaking his mind on the ordinance protecting convicted lawmakers from disqualification from Parliament, he has tried to do some damage control. "My mother told me the words I used were strong," he is believed to have said.
According to TV reports, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said: "In hindsight, the words I had used were too strong...I should have avoided them. But I was right in my sentiment."
Gandhi also said that everyone in the [Congress] party agreed with him [about the ordinance] and that he should not be penalised.
He is in Gujarat Oct 3 and 4 to meet party workers.
Gandhi joined the press interaction moments after Maken had defended the ordinance.
"I told him you can't defend the indefensible," Gandhi said.
The cabinet had cleared the ordinance on Sep 24.
Gandhi justified his remarks saying many in the Congress felt the same way.
"I am entitled to voice my opinion," he said while stressing that a large section of the Congress party supported his stand.
Before the cabinet reversed its earlier decision Wednesday, Gandhi met the prime minister and explained his position to him.
The ordinance sought to override a July 10 Supreme Court order which barred lawmakers from holding office if they were convicted in cases carrying sentences of more than two years.
Last Friday, Rahul Gandhi had called the ordinance "nonsense" in an apparently impromptu address to the media. He said this minutes after party spokesperson Ajay Maken defended the ordinance in the very same conference.
After Gandhi's outburst, Congress leaders had publicly expressed their disapproval of the ordinance.
The entire episode was trashed by the opposition as one lowering the dignity of the Prime Minister's office.
On Wednesday, the cabinet withdrew the ordinance in what was widely believed to be a deferential nod to party Vice-president Rahul Gandhi's wishes.
Read a dna analysis—Rahul Gandhi: Neither fish nor fowl, so what then?