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Ordinance Controversy: PM Meets Rahul
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Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who had made strong comments against the ordinance on convicted lawmakers, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday (2 October).
Sources said Rahul met Singh at his residence here and the meeting between the two lasted 30 minutes.
The controversial ordinance was understood to be on the agenda and the two leaders discussed the way ahead on the issue, the sources said.
Rahul had earlier this week said at a press conference that the ordinance is "nonsense" and should be "torn up and thrown away". Many saw this as an embarrassment for the Prime Minister and the Opposition vociferously demanded that Singh, who was on a visit to the US at the time, should step down after his return.
However, Singh on his return last night ruled out any such possibility.
The sources said the government is mulling whether to withdraw the ordinance- which was sent to President Pranab Mukherjee after the Cabinet had cleared it- or ask the President to exercise his pocket veto and sit over it.
The Prime Minister will today preside over the Cabinet after meeting the President who is said to have reservations over the move to provide immunity to MPs and MLAs from immediate disqualification overriding a Supreme Court judgement on the issue.
The Cabinet meet will be preceded by a meeting of the Congress core group that includes party chief Sonia Gandhi, the Prime Minister and top ministers. Law Minister Kapil Sibal may be called to the meeting.
The Cabinet note for today's meeting talks of two options -- await the promulgation of the ordinance by the President or withdraw it.
However, all indications from government and party sources are that the Cabinet may have no option but to withdraw it in the wake of strong attack on it by Gandhi.
The note to the Cabinet, before which the ordinance is the only agenda for tomorrow as of now, also speaks of deferring to the "sentiments of the public at large" on the issue.
BJP Hits Out At PM
Meanwhile, Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reacted sharply on 1 October to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ruling out any possibility of his resignation in the wake of the controversy over the ordinance on convicted lawmakers, saying for him "sticking" to the chair is more important than his self-respect.
"Now the conscience of a Foreign Secretary is larger than the conscience of the Prime Minister of India. Then Foreign Secretary A P Venkateshwaran chose to resign within an hour after a public snub by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi but the PM of a great country like India chooses to stick to the chair," Deputy Leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad told PTI.
He said Singh has chosen to stay on as PM in spite of a public humiliation and snub by Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.
"What else I can say except that the chair is more important for Prime Minister Singh than self-respect," Prasad said.
Rahul had said at an impromptu press appearance that the ordinance on convicted MPs and MLAs is "nonsense" and should be "torn up and thrown out".
The Opposition had demanded that after this insult of the Prime Minister, he should step down.