Day after,Cong rushes to back Rahul on ordinance

Digvijaya praises PM for ‘convincing’ Obama on terror issue

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:September 29, 2013 12:30 am

A day after Rahul Gandhi publicly denounced the ordinance on convicted MPs and MLAs,a move which was interpreted as undermining the position of the Prime Minister,Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh on Saturday hailed Manmohan Singh for convincing US President Barack Obama on the issue of terrorism from across the border.

“Compliment PM for convincing US and others that LeT is global terror threat. I hope Pakistan would take a note of that and act decisively,” tweeted Digvijaya. Congress observers saw his remarks as a public reassertion of the party’s faith and confidence in the PM’s leadership. Digvijaya is considered to be close to Rahul.

However,Digvijaya was the lone voice in the Congress hailing the PM,as party leaders and ministers rushed to support Rahul. Union Minister G K Vasan said Rahul has “echoed the voice of the Congress party,from Kashmir to Kanyakumari,and also the people of the country.”

Union minister Milind Deora,who had publicly voiced his reservations on the ordinance even before Rahul’s public attack,said,“It’s a healthy day for democracy in Congress,it’s a healthy day for democracy in UPA government and it’s a healthy day for democracy in India.”

Digvijaya said,“Rahul punctured the balloon of BJP’s doublespeak. It (BJP) had agreed to the amendment in an all-party meeting.”

In Guwahati,Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi “whole heartedly” supported Rahul’s stand. “I whole heartedly welcome his stand. I am dead against (protecting) convicts and persons chargesheeted for various criminal offences,” he said at a press conference.

Asked if he was opposed to the PM for clearing the ordinance,Gogoi replied: “Anybody can tell the PM that he is wrong. In a democracy,everybody has the right to object. The PM should review the decision. I will write to him to review the decision.”

He said he was “even against giving tickets to persons against whom chargesheets have been filed,” but admitted that “once in a while” his party has given tickets to such persons.”

Gogoi also supported the Supreme Court’s ruling on the right to cast a negative vote. “I am personally in favour of providing the right to reject. I have a right to reject,and I feel when people vote for the opposition candidate they actually exercise their right to reject,” he said.

Meanwhile,NCP leader and Union Minister Praful Patel is reported to have said in Kolkata that Rahul’s outburst was “embarrassing”. “I think the way the events have come out,it is very unfortunate. It could have been handled in a better way. It’s embarrassing,” he was quoted as saying. He said the onus was on the Congress to clear the air. “The onus should not be put on other parties,” he said.

BJP raises pitch,says PM must quit

The BJP on Saturday demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in view of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s public criticism of the ordinance on convicted MPs and MLAs.

“If the Prime Minister accepts my request to hear the voice of his conscience,he should head to Rashtrapati Bhawan to tender his resignation the moment he lands in Delhi,” said BJP deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Addressing a press conference,he said,“Dr Manmohan Singh… do you have any conscience left? Because the issue is not of Dr Manmohan Singh,the issue is that of the integrity of the office of the Prime Minister of the country.”

He said then foreign secretary A P Venkateswaran had resigned from his post in 1987 after then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had snubbed him. “When a self-respecting foreign secretary can do it,it is to be seen whether the Prime Minister has some self-respect,” said Prasad.

“This whole intervention,in some way,is designed to create a position of discomfort even for the President,” said Prasad. He sought to know whether UPA allies like Sharad Pawar and Farooq Abdullah also felt that the ordinance approved by them in the cabinet was “nonsense”.

While BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has so far avoided any comment on the issue,Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan described Rahul’s remarks as an expression of “no-confidence” against the entire cabinet.

“If the Prime Minister has even a little bit of shame and self-respect,he,along with his entire Cabinet,should immediately step down,” PTI quoted Chouhan as saying.

Modi,who is slated to address a rally in Delhi on Sunday,is expected to raise the issue.

with ENS,Guwahati

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