Union Minister of State for Agriculture and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Tariq Anwar on Wednesday admitted that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s public disapproval of the ordinance on convicted lawmakers is the sole reason behind the Centre having a relook at the proposal.
"Rahul Gandhi is the Congress party vice president, number two in the party. Had anyone else raised this issue in the Congress, then it would not have got such prominence. But he himself has raised this issue and that is why it is being given so much importance in the party, and also by the media,” Anwar said.
“So this must be the reason why this meeting of the cabinet has been called and I think all issues will be discussed," he added.
Meanwhile, Janata Dal (United) leader Shivanand Tiwari criticised the ruling Congress for not taking its allies into confidence before going ahead on the cabinet-approved Ordinance on convicted lawmakers, and said that the Centre was yet to learn on how to run a coalition government.
"Congress is an old party but now they do not have the numbers to form a government on their own, that's why its coalition partners need to be taken into confidence before taking a decision. That is why I think that the Congress needs more experience on how to run a coalition government," Tiwari said.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh met President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan to brief him on the decision taken by the Congress Core Group with regard to the Ordinance on convicted parliamentarians.
According to sources, the Congress Core Group has decided to withdraw the Ordinance. The meeting was attended by the Prime Minister, party chief Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel and others. Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Defence Minister AK Antony were not present at the meeting.
The meeting of the Congress Core Group was significant in wake of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's public outburst against the Ordinance.
Rahul Gandhi met the Prime Minister for about 25 minutes earlier on Wednesday. This was the Prime Minister's first interaction with Rahul Gandhi after his return from the US.
A special Cabinet meeting has been called at 6 pm on Wednesday.
Dr Manmohan Singh, who returned home on Tuesday 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 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 had 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.