Zee Media Bureau/Manisha Singh
Ahmedabad: A day after the ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers was withdrawn by the Union Cabinet, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi admitted on Thursday that perhaps the language that he had used to denounce it was wrong.
In an attempt at damage control, Rahul said, “My mother told me that perhaps the words I used were too strong. May be in hindsight my language was wrong, but my sentiment was honest. I am young...”
But at the same time he maintained that he had the right to voice his opinion. “A large part of the Congress party wanted it,” Rahul Gandhi said on withdrawal of ordinance on convicted lawmakers.
"Why am I being penalised for raising my voice on something that was wrong? Was I wrong?", Rahul asked. "I spoke my mind on the issue, it is amazing to see reactions to it. I am flabbergasted," he added.
The scion of the Gandhi party had on September 27 barged into a press conference being addressed by Ajay Maken and said that the ordinance cleared by the Cabinet was ‘nonsense’ and that it should be torn and thrown away. He had also said that what his government had done was wrong.
Incidentally, Maken was defending the ordinance just a few minutes before the Congress VP walked into the Press Club of India. Also, the ordinance was given the green signal at the Congress core group meeting attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
The stand take by Rahul was criticised by Opposition parties, especially the BJP, who said that the position of the Prime Minister had been undermined by the Congress VP`s comments, as the ordinance was cleared by the Cabinet headed by him. They also said that if the PM had any self-respect then he should resign.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was away in the US to address the UN General Assembly at the time the comments were made by Rahul.
Sonia Gandhi spoke to the PM on the day the controversy broke out and reportedly assured him that there was no attempt to undermine his position. While returning from his US trip, the PM had told journalists that he would talk to Rahul as to why things had to be done ‘that way’. He also said that there was no question of him stepping down.
Rahul did meet with the PM on his return and explained his position. The PM also met Sonia and President Pranab Mukherjee.
Finally, the contentious ordinance and the bill were withdrawn yesterday after the Cabinet met in the evening.
It is said that Rahul decided to oppose the ordinance after he got negative feedback from various quarters.