New Delhi, Oct 2 (PTI): The Union cabinet on Wednesday decided to withdraw the controversial ordinance that would have allowed convicted lawmakers to continue in legislatures by negating a July 10 Supreme Court judgment.
”The Union Cabinet unanimously decided that the Ordinance regarding certain aspects of the Representation of the People Act as well as the Bill (pending in Parliament) should be withdrawn,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters
Ahead of the Cabinet meeting Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to the allies of Congress in the ruling United Progressive Alliance coalition to keep them posted.
Among the allies Singh contacted were NCP chief Sharad Pawar and RLD leader Ajit Singh, sources said.
The Prime Minister also consulted Attorney General G E Vahanvati over the issue.
The decision ended an embarrassing period for the Congress that began last Friday when party vice-president Rahul Gandhi unexpectedly tore into the ordinance at a press conference.
Rahul’s statement came when the Prime Minister was out of the country on an official visit. Singh returned on Tuesday.
On Wednesday morning, Rahul called on the Prime Minister and is understood to have explained his reasons for the opposing the ordinance.
The meeting came a day after Singh returned from his US visit and said he would try to find out the reason why Rahul made a public statement and “why it had to be done that way”.
The same day, Rahul, making it clear that he was not undermining Singh's authority in any way, had written to the Prime Minister, saying that he has the “greatest admiration” for his leadership in extremely difficult circumstances.
Many saw Rahul's outburst on the ordinance 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, step down after his return.
Then followed a meeting of the Congress core committee, which left a decision to the cabinet.
After this, the Prime Minister called on President Pranab Mukherjee, who is also believed to have had some reservations.