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A day before the meeting of the Union Cabinet called to consider withdrawing the controversial ordinance on convicted MPs and MLAs, the ruling UPA was a divided house on Tuesday, with many partners taking a dig at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for trying to dictate to the government.
“Mr Rahul Gandhi is free to say whatever he wishes to say about the Congress party, but the government led by Manmohan Singh is not a Congress government. It is the UPA government and I am sure Rahul Gandhi knows we are his allies and not his followers,” Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson and MP D P Tripathi said.
The NCP and the National Conference have already demanded that the UPA coordination committee meeting be convened to discuss this issue.
“Tomorrow, we have to see whether Rahul Gandhi is at the top or the Prime Minister of India is at the top,” said Samajwadi Party general secretary and MP Naresh Agarwal, when asked whether his party was in favour of withdrawing the proposed ordinance.
The rumblings in the ruling dispensation came as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returned from his eventful trip to the United States and is due to preside over the Cabinet meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the fate of the ordinance.
Ahead of the Cabinet meeting, Singh is also scheduled to call on President Pranab Mukherjee who will leave on a six-day visit to Belgium and Turkey Wednesday afternoon.
Rahul had last week trashed the ordinance and called it “complete nonsense”, undermining the PM’s position and triggering a political crisis.
The Cabinet agenda note circulated Tuesday said the government would seek directions of the Cabinet on two options regarding the Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance 2013.
The first option is to “await the promulgation of the said ordinance by the President of India”. The second is to “withdraw the proposed ordinance and await the recommendations” of the parliamentary standing committee on the Representation of the People (Second Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013, pending in the Rajya