BJP says withdrawal of ordinance will not be victory for 'drama Rahul'

Allahabad, Oct. 2 (ANI): Calling Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's performance in the Press Club last week a drama, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said the opposition did not believe that the Congress number two was against corruption as he claimed .

Commenting on reports suggesting that the Congress core group has decided to withdraw the proposed ordinance on convicted lawmakers, Prasad said: "Rahul Gandhi has not won, he has simply done drama. ... Am I supposed to believe that Rahul Gandhi and his government are separate? Rahul Gandhi is quiet during every instance of corruption...so, this sudden urge to distance himself from the government is what I take as drama."

"But yes, public pressure and pressure from the Bharatiya Janata Party has ensured that the right thing is done," he added.

While reiterating his party's stance on the Ordinance, Prasad said: "The BJP was extremely concerned and that is the reason why we went to meet the President. Convicted lawmakers must complete their term of punishment. The laws of this country would not let Lalu Prasad contest the next elections, with or without this law."

Earlier today, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh met President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan here 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 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 public outburst against the Ordinance.

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

A special Cabinet meeting has been called at 6 p.m. today.

Dr. Manmohan 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 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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