'Ordinance on convicted lawmakers backfired on government'

New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley Tuesday said the government was trying to play "a clever political card" by bringing an ordinance to shield convicted lawmaker, but the move backfired.

"They went ahead with the ordinance because they thought the way the Bihar situation is developing they will have more than one option," BJP leader Arun Jaitley said in an interaction with journalists at the Indian Women Press Corps (IWPC).

"They were playing a clever political card but it backfired. It is not the time when people will accept a legislation like this to shield convicted lawmaker. The government should have thought about it," he said.

The ordinance, approved by the union cabinet and awaiting the president's signature, seeks to override the Supreme Court's decision on disqualifying convicted lawmakers.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, who was Monday convicted in the multi-crore-rupee fodder scam, stands to lose his Lok Sabha membership as per the Supreme Court directive.

While the Congress has denied it, the opposition has alleged that the ordinance was being brought in to save the RJD chief.

Jaitley said Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's attack last week on the ordinance rubbished the prime minister' office. The ordinance was trashed by Rahul Gandhi as "complete nonsense" and fit to be "torn up and thrown away".

"The prime minister's post is an institution. Where there is a difference of opinion, we criticise him. But when your own party starts rubbishing (it), the adverse impact is bigger," Jaitley said.

Asked if he felt that the prime minister should resign, he said: "It is a call for the prime minister to take. It is for him to decide how he wants to go down the pages of history."

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