Rahul Gandhi has the final word, Cabinet withdraws 'nonsense' ordinance
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Buckling under all-round pressure, including from some UPA allies, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to withdraw the controversial ordinance on convicted MPs and MLAs. In a surprise move, the Cabinet also decided to withdraw the Bill pending in parliament on the issue, though it was not on the agenda.
The decision of the Cabinet, which met here under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to withdraw the Representation of People (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2013, which is now with Rashtrapati Bhawan for presidential assent, will be conveyed in writing to President Pranab Mukherjee, with a request to return the ordinance unsigned.
Sources said Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal moved the proposal to withdraw the Representation of People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013, which was referred to the department-related parliamentary standing committee on law last week. The logic behind this move was that since there was a growing perception in the public that the government was trying to protect convicted lawmakers through the Bill, such a move would only work against the UPA constituents.
NCP leader and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar is learnt to have taken exception to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi public outburst against the ordinance last week, saying institutions like the Cabinet and their decisions must not be undermined in such a manner. He is also learnt to have said that the views of the opposition should have been taken before finalising the ordinance. Failure to do so, he said, has left the government exposed to the charge of trying to protect convicted lawmakers.