While the Union Cabinet cleared an ordinance on Tuesday in a bid to nullify a Supreme Court ruling disqualifying MPs and MLAs immediately upon conviction in a criminal case,the ruling Congress seemed to be divided on the issue. While Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was learnt to have called up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ahead of the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday to express her reservation against the move,Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh Wednesday favoured a political consensus on this issue.
According to sources,Dikshit had requested the PM to not resort to the ordinance route to negate the apex court order as it would send out a wrong message to the people about the partys stance on probity and integrity in public life. Dikshit and many of her party colleagues were said to be of the view that any move to protect convicted MPs and MLAs would be politically damaging in the forthcoming Assembly elections. Digvijaya Singh said it is better to bring a political consensus rather than bringing an ordinance on such contentious issues.
Incidentally,the Congress partys committee on electoral reforms,headed by Ambika Soni,had also supported the SC ruling on the disqualification of convicted legislators. It was part of 31-point recommendations that Soni committee had submitted to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. While the party sent 30 recommendations to the Law Commission of India,the one supporting the Supreme Court ruling was dropped.