Congress, BJP lock horns over Rahul Gandhi's ordinance comment

New Delhi, Sep 28 (ANI): Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla on Saturday lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for demanding Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's resignation following Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi's criticism of the ordinance on convicted politicians.

"The Prime Minister wasn't insulted. Rahulji didn't welcome the ordinance," he said, while accusing the BJP of politicising the issue.

Congress spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das on his part described Rahul Gandhi's opinion on the ordinance on convicted politicians to be reflective that of a mass leader, and said that the latter merely expressed the sentiments of the people.

"Rahul Gandhi stood by the sentiments of the people and the anger which he expressed yesterday was not his but it was the anger of the people of the country. This is a quality of a mass leader," said Das.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, had said that Rahul Gandhi's remark was an insult to the Prime Minister.

"Rahul Gandhi has not only insulted the Prime Minister who is in United States, he has also insulted the constitutional authority of India's highest position. It is up to the Prime Minister to react to it but I don' think he has any other option but to resign after this insult by Rahul Gandhi," he said.

Rahul Gandhi had earlier written a letter to the Prime Minister regarding his views on the ordinance.

"I realize that what I feel about the Ordinance is not in harmony with the Cabinet decision and the Core Group's view. I also know it would be exploited by our political opponents. You know that I have the highest respect for you and I look up to you for your wisdom," said Gandhi in his letter.

"I have nothing but the greatest admiration for the manner in which you are providing leadership in extremely difficult circumstances. I hope you will understand the strength of my own conviction about this very controversial issue," he added.

In a major embarrassment to the ruling UPA, Rahul Gandhi yesterday 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," he said.

The Prime Minister yesterday issued a statement from Washington saying the matter will be reconsidered after his return to India.

"The Ordinance cleared by the Cabinet pertaining to the Representation of the People Act has been a matter of much public debate. The Congress Vice-President has also written to me on the issue and also made a statement," said Dr. Singh in a statement.

"The Government is seized of all these developments. The issues raised will be considered on my return to India after due deliberations in the Cabinet," he added.

The developments came a day after President Pranab Mukherjee summoned senior Cabinet ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde, Kamal Nath and Kapil Sibal for consultations on the ordinance pending before him for signature.

The Union Cabinet had approved an ordinance to reverse the Supreme Court judgment mandating the immediate disqualification of lawmakers convicted for a criminal offence punishable with a jail term of more than two years.

The ordinance seeks to reverse the Supreme Court judgement that had not only disqualified lawmakers convicted of offences with two years or more in jail, but also barred from contesting elections. (ANI)

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