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Minutes before Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi walked into his press meet at the Press Club and junked the ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers from immediate disqualification, Congress general secretary and party communication department chief Ajay Maken was strongly defending the ordinance.
Citing Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s statement on Thursday, Maken said the formulation of the ordinance was discussed with senior BJP leaders at the all-party meeting on August 13 and “they all agreed to it”.
Besides, he said the ordinance was also a form of legislation. Once converted to a Bill it will be sent to the standing committee and if the panel “makes any changes and decides or comes out with a different opinion it will be placed before the House as a separate Bill which will be discussed and debated”, he said.
“As far as the decision taken by the government, an ordinance is perfect as far the law is concerned,” he said.
However, after Rahul spoke out, Maken did a complete U-turn. Minutes after the Rahul left the Press Club, Maken said, “I think what Rahul Gandhi said is the most important thing.”
“I think Rahulji also feels strongly against the ordinance because I think he feels we should fight against corruption and people who are criminals. I think this ordinance will not help us fight against corruption and criminals. He is very right in saying so,” he said.
“Earlier, what Chidambaram said was about the government stand. That was yesterday. And today Rahulji was here and what he has said is our party’s stand. He is our leader and I think this is our official political stand.... Now, Congress party is opposed to this ordinance,” he said.
Maken was not alone. Most senior ministers and the Congress party officially have been defending the ordinance and some fumbled for words.
I&B Minister Manish Tewari, who earlier defended the ordinance, Friday said, “If Rahul Gandhi has said something, it is not in my knowledge. You have just informed me about it, we will take cognizance of it (his words) and whatever response needs to be given on it, that will be given.”