The Telegraph
Sunday , March 2 , 2014
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Cabinet meet on Sunday

New Delhi, March 1: The Union cabinet is holding an emergency meeting tomorrow and while there is speculation that it would take up the anti-corruption ordinances that Rahul Gandhi is pushing for, there was no clarity till late tonight.

Ministers were informed on phone that the cabinet would meet at 6pm on Sunday. Most were not in Delhi, either busy with pre-scheduled programmes or campaigning in their constituencies. Many have changed their plans to return by tomorrow evening because they presumed the cabinet would take up Rahul’s agenda.

The agenda papers have not been circulated but the decision to hold a meeting on a Sunday prompted the speculation.

The cabinet was to take up the ordinances at its meeting yesterday but did not, saying the agenda had been deferred. There are differences within the government over the desirability of issuing ordinances — an option prescribed when there is an emergency — on pending bills just ahead of elections.

Concerns over President Pranab Mukherjee’s readiness to sign them were also bothering the government.

The Congress core committee met yesterday and sources said the Prime Minister would speak to the President today. But the two did not meet till late evening and an appointment with the Prime Minister was not on the Rashtrapati Bhavan schedule.

The Prime Minister can, however, meet the President before the cabinet meets tomorrow.

Congress sources said no final decision had been taken on the ordinances. However, the chairman of the standing committee on personnel, public grievances, law and justice, Shantaram Naik, issued a statement today requesting the Prime Minister to bring an ordinance at least on the Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of Grievances Bill — popularly known as the Citizen Charters’ Bill.

Naik argued that there was nothing wrong with bringing ordinances on other pending legislation also that could not be passed in Parliament despite sincere efforts because of sustained disruptions by Opposition parties on “flimsy” issues.

Tomorrow’s cabinet meeting will probably be the last before the model code of conduct for elections comes into force. The Lok Sabha election dates are expected to be announced anytime after March 7.