New Delhi, Oct : With the ruling Congress Party contemplating to withdraw a contentious ordinance that allows convicted parliamentarians to stay in office, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader D.P. Tripathi on Wednesday said his party as a responsible UPA partner will abide by whatever decision Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh takes in this regard.
“This is not a Congress Government. This is a coalition government, the government of UPA. And we are a Congress ally, not Rahul Gandhi’s followers,” said Tripathi.
“So, whatever decision the Prime Minister takes the NCP will support it as a responsible partner,” he added.
A meeting of the Congress Core Group to discuss the ordinance on convicted lawmakers took place at the Prime Minister’s official 7, Race Course Road (RCR) here.
The meeting was attended by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her political secretary Ahmed Patel and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde among others.
The meeting was significant in wake of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s public outburst against the Cabinet ordinance.
Rahul Gandhi met the Prime Minister for about 25 minutes earlier in the day. This was the Prime Minister’s first interaction with Gandhi after his return from U.S.
The Prime Minister will meet President Pranab Mukherjee this afternoon before the latter leaves on a state visit to Greece.
A special Cabinet meeting has been called at 6 p.m. today.
Dr. 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 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)