BJP gives all credit to itself and Pranab Mukherjee for rejecting ordinance on convicted lawmakers

New Delhi, Oct. 2 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party President Rajnath Singh on Wednesday denied Congress' allegation that his party had agreed to the ordinance on convicted lawmakers, and gave his party and President Pranab Mukherjee full credit for the decision taken by the Cabinet on the controversial bill.

"BJP never agreed to the ordinance and asked the President not to sign it," Singh said.

"All credit goes to BJP and am thankful to the President of India for rejecting it," he added.

After the Cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's residence, 7 Race Course Road, Cabinet Minister and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh had alleged that the BJP had flip-flopped on the ordinance.

"It is we who have always opposed it (ordinance)....The BJP changed its stand seeing public response," Singh said.

Singh also lauded Congress Party Vice President Rahul Gandhi for fearlessly publicly stating his personal view on the ordinance last week, and said that his remark led to a cabinet decision taken in complete national interest.

"Atleast someone has raised their voice. This decision was taken for the good of the country," Singh said.

After taking the legal viewpoint on the ordinance and the Bill into consideration, it has been decided that the process of withdrawing the Bill will be taken up during the Winter Session of Parliament.

According to television and other media reports, the Cabinet met for about 20-25 minutes this evening, and decided to send a formal letter to the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha soon with a request to withdraw the Bill.

The Cabinet meeting was held at the 7 Race Course Road official residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Prior to the meeting, Prime Minister Singh met President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan here for almost an hour on Wednesday, and reportedly briefed him about the Congress Core Group's latest decision on the controversial ordinance on convicted parliamentarians.

The Congress Core Group, it maybe recalled, decided to withdraw the ordinance. The meeting of the Congress Core Group was attended by the Prime Minister, party chief Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel and others. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Defence Minister A.K. 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 very public and negative outburst against the ordinance.

Rahul Gandhi met the Prime Minister for about 25 minutes this morning. This was the Prime Minister's first interaction with Rahul Gandhi after his return from U.S.

Dr. Singh, who returned 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. (ANI)

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