New Delhi: The Congress was abuzz after party vice president Rahul Gandhi Friday questioned an ordinance to save convicted lawmakers from disqualification, saying it should be "torn up and thrown away".
While some Congress functionaries welcomed Gandhi`s remark, saying it was in "sync" with popular public perception on the issue of cleaning up politics, there were others who said it may further add to a view that there is a communication gap between the party and the government on critical issues.
"There was a difference of opinion in the party over the ordinance which was being seen as an attempt to defend tainted leaders like our own Rashid Masood and RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) chief Lalu Prasad. Why should the Congress get the flak for saving them," said an All India Congress Committee (AICC) functionary, not wishing to be identified.
Other functionaries in the Congress said the party should have seen it coming given Gandhi`s preference for clean and rule-based politics which stipulates that convicted persons should not enter parliament or state legislatures.
"He is trying to create systems within the organisation. For him processes and fair play are very important," said another AICC leader.
But all of them were struck by the suddenness of Gandhi`s remark and the way it was delivered during a short but swift intervention during a media interaction Congress communication department chairman Ajay Maken was having at the Press Club.
While Gandhi`s remark left information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari, who was defending the ordinance while addressing a news conference, floundering, Maken too had a tough time changing his tune once Gandhi had left.
Like Tewari, Maken too had strongly defended the ordinance just moments before Gandhi arrived.
"I was taken by surprise when Gandhi spoke against the ordinance. Usually he is so cool," said a party worker.