The political storm over the blunt attack by Rahul Gandhi on the Ordinance on convicted lawmakers refused to subside with BJP insisting on Saturday that the dignity of the Prime Minister's office has been "destroyed" and Congress maintaining it is "healthy for democracy".
As the Congress sought to project a united front, a day after Rahul attacked the government over the Ordinance, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, whose National Conference (NC) is an ally of the party, sought a meeting of UPA Coordination Committee to discuss the controversial ordinance threadbare.
"I think time has come that a meeting of the Coordination Committee should be called where all the constituents of UPA be taken into confidence and the misunderstandings which have been created regarding this Ordinance and a situation which has been created publicly, that needs to be set right privately in a closed room," he told reporters in Srinagar.
Union minister Milind Deora termed the Congress Vice President's criticism of the controversial ordinance that protects convicted lawmakers "healthy for democracy" and said there was nothing wrong in accepting and rectifying an error.
"It's a healthy day for democracy in Congress, it's a healthy day for democracy in UPA government and it's a healthy day for democracy in India," Deora, Union Minister of State for Communication and IT, told reporters in Mumbai.
Deora was responding to questions about whether Congress and the UPA government were not on the same page on the Ordinance that prompted a strong criticism by Rahul.
Deora, who was the lone Union minister to have publicly disfavoured the Ordinance before its public denunciation by Rahul, however, said nobody in the government or the party had sought to "undermine the authority, the strength of the Prime Minister who all of us have tremendous respect for".
"The party and the government are one in this. We are solidly behind the PM and the government and party are one (on the Ordinance)," he said.
Deora also attacked the BJP for trying to make the Ordinance a party versus government issue and for demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
But BJP leaders — Madhya Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Arun Jaitley — maintained that Rahul's intemperate criticism of the Ordinance "damaged" the dignity of the office of the Prime Minister.
"The comments made by Rahul Gandhi about the ordinance amounted to an insult of the Prime Minister and his council of ministers," Chouhan said in a statement in Bhopal.
Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh said Rahul's attack has "punctured BJP's double speak".
"Rahul punctured the balloon of BJP's double speak. It (BJP) had agreed to the amendment in an all-party meeting," the Congress leader tweeted.
Strongly backing Rahul, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to withdraw the Ordinance at once.
"The Ordinance is not proper...Rahul Gandhi has spoken the right thing," Kumar told reporters in Patna.
"If you stop an improper action at any stage it does not lower your prestige, but enhances it," he said.
"As the Ordinance is facing criticism across the country, the right step will be its withdrawal. There is still time left as President has not given his approval to the ordinance," he said.
Kumar said the task of making legislation on such an important issue should be left to the Parliament.
Rejecting BJP's criticism, Congress leader and Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said it was "quiet normal" for any political party to have divergence of views.
Another Union minister Veerappa Moily asserted there was no confrontation between the Congress and the Government on the Ordinance.
Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan said the Congress Vice President has reflected the opinion of the party as well as the people of the country.
"Rahul Gandhi has expressed his opinion very clearly. It is not only his opinion. I think he has echoed the voice of the Congress party from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and also the people of the country," Vasan told reporters in Chennai.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said Rahul was only voicing the conCerns of many people and asserted that nothing much should be read into the timing of his criticism.
TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should resign if he disagreed with Rahul's criticism.
"The Prime Minister (is being) insulted repeatedly to elevate Rahul Gandhi. 'Nonsense' is his (Rahul's) new moniker for the Government. PM should resign if he disagrees with this," he tweeted.
"Rahul Gandhi's reaction to the ordinance is dubious. He would have known about it every step from drafting to passage by the Government," he said in another tweet.
BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu insisted that the "real intention" of the Congress Vice-President is to "show" the Prime Minister "who the real boss is".