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Congress relieved it won’t be accused of saving Lalu

Congress relieved it won’t be accused of saving Lalu

laluNEW DELHI: Even as the tenor of Rahul Gandhi’s castigation of the ordinance to save convicted MPs draws sniggers, Congress on Monday expressed relief that nobody was able to accuse it of shielding Lalu Prasad from disqualification in the wake of his conviction.

The opposition’s failure to train its anti-Lalu gun at the Congress was credited to the Gandhi scion’s nixing of the ordinance in the nick of time.

The guilty verdict against the RJD chief in the fodder scam would have inevitably led to BJP targeting the Congress had the contentious ordinance got past the President’s desk.

The ordinance, pushed in haste, was aimed to restore the rule that lawmakers would not be disqualified pending appeal against their conviction, a proposal seen as an attempt to rescue Lalu given the impending verdict and possible conviction in the fodder scam.

Congressmen drew satisfaction from the fact that the conviction did not provide rival BJP an opening to resurrect the corruption plank against Congress, a strong possibility had the ordinance stood undisputed. The threat of adding another issue to the already bloated corruption chargesheet, after two years of negative campaign, had the Congress worried.

Rahul’s sudden intervention to debunk the proposed law stemmed from the BJP’s turnaround, which dubbed the ordinance as a project to insure Lalu against the court verdict as also the fear of agitation threatened by civil society and Aam Aadmi Party.

Asked if the ordinance would be withdrawn, Congress spokesman Sandeep Dikshit said, “We hope the government will take the feelings expressed by Rahul Gandhi into consideration.”

While senior ministers dispute the ordinance had any legal loophole, even making a plausible case that it only sought to align the law with the Supreme Court order, a strong section in the party worried that it would give rivals a strong handle against Congress.

The leader among the nay-sayers was the Delhi unit which realized that the vast urban constituency would be particularly vulnerable to the campaign accusing Congress of saving criminal legislators.

It was the political dimension of the ordinance that seems to have triggered the rethink which culminated in Rahul’s dash to Press Club to call it “complete nonsense”.

The sigh of relief in Congress showed the revolt against the ordinance was dictated by the fear of political ramifications.


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