Amid speculations that the UPA Government may withdraw the ordinance on convicted lawmakers, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh met Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi here on Wednesday.
The meeting between the two took place at the Prime Minister’s official 7, Race Course Road (RCR) here for about 25 minutes.
This was the Prime Minister’s first interaction with Gandhi after his return from U.S.
The Congress Core Group will be meeting later in the day to discuss this ordinance. The meeting holds significance in wake of Rahul Gandhi’s public outburst against the Cabinet ordinance.
The core committee comprises Sonia Gandhi, her political secretary Ahmed Patel, the Prime Minister, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
Dr. Singh will then meet President Pranab Mukherjee in the forenoon before the latter leaves on a state visit to Greece.
A special Cabinet meeting has been called at 6 p.m. today.
Dr. Singh, who returned home yesterday after his five-day visit to the United States, said there is no question of him resigning from office.
“I have seen Rahul Gandhi’s statement. He has written to me on this subject also, and, let me say, that when issues are raised in a democracy, in a democratic polity, the right course is to start with trying to understand what is agitating the minds of the concerned people. When I go back, I will discuss these matters with Mr. Rahul Gandhi. He has asked for a meeting with me, and, I will also take my Cabinet colleagues into confidence. We will see which way the wind blows,” Dr. Singh said onboard Air India One.
When specifically asked to respond to the opposition’s demand that he should have resigned from office immediately after Gandhi’s criticism of the ordinance while he was abroad, Dr. Singh said: “Well, there is no question of resigning. I said I will put all these issues before my Cabinet colleagues. These are all matters which are discussed before the highest body, the core group of the Congress Party. The Cabinet discussed this matter twice, not once. But, it is always possible to change one’s mind, and, I will consult my colleagues on all these issues,” he added.
In a major embarrassment to the ruling UPA, Rahul Gandhi had earlier on September 27 dubbed the ordinance to negate the Supreme Court verdict on convicted lawmakers as 'complete nonsense', and said it should be torn up and thrown away.
"I personally think what the government is doing on the ordinance is wrong. It was a political decision, every party does it, and there is a time to stop this nonsense," Gandhi had said in New Delhi.