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Ordinance row

New Delhi, Feb. 28: The Congress decision to bring ordinances on pending anti-corruption legislation appears to have run into trouble, with differences within the government forcing the Union cabinet to drop plans to take up the matter today.

The Congress core group met and decided to move forward only after addressing concerns on the legal soundness of bringing the ordinances before elections.

Sources said the legal department had raised questions about the ordinance route, which is taken only if there is an emergency.

The core group has not given up yet and the Prime Minister could speak to the President before the government’s next move.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had pushed for the ordinances.

Sources said agriculture minister Sharad Pawar objected, saying this would send a wrong signal and expose the government’s desperation on corruption. The government cannot dictate the legislative agenda to the next government by bringing ordinances that would need to be ratified by the next Lok Sabha, he added. Law minister Kapil Sibal admitted there were legal issues.

The government is running out of time because it cannot issue the ordinances after the announcement of the election, expected after March 7.