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After withdrawal, dead ordinance haunts govt, BJP


Kamal Nath on Thursday said the BJP, during the all-party meeting, supported the ordinance and changed its stand after Rahul Gandhi raised the issue. ‘In the business advisory committee meeting in the Rajya Sabha, they (the BJP) had unanimously agreed to the ordinance and so it was introduced in the Rajya Sabha,’ said Kamal Nath.

Flashing a copy of the minutes of the meeting, he said: ‘It is unfortunate that ever since Rahul Gandhi raised the matter, the BJP has taken a different stand. This is the old style of the BJP, to say one thing in public and another in private.’

Countering the allegation, Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley said on Thursday that the BJP had opposed the ordinance all along and had conveyed its opposition to the government. ‘The government has tried to convey an impression that the BJP was in full support of the legislation which was proposed. In fact, various options were discussed. I am constrained to set  the record  straight,’ wrote Jaitley.

The BJP leader said on 2 September, union law minister Kapil Sibal came to the chamber of Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj in Parliament, where a discussion/argument took place between Sibal, Jaitley and Swaraj for half an hour on why the amendment to People’s Representation Act should not be approved. 

 ‘We felt that it was morally questionable and constitutionally invalid. Sushma Swaraj  and I categorically informed the government that we were opposed to the  passage  of this  amendment,’ said Jaitley. He said in view of a divided opinion, the government informed the BJP that the matter was being referred to a standing committee. ‘We  were  shocked  when  the  ordinance  was  issued  even  though  a  bill  was  pending consideration before the standing committee,’ said Jaitley.

Jaitley also said on 15 August, Sibal had informed him the government was contemplating a constitutional amendment. ‘I expressed my apprehensions. My apprehensions were that public opinion would disapprove the fact that Parliament was amending the Constitution in order to enable convicted persons to continue as a law maker....  There are no more than a handful of people who fall in this category. We can easily live with this judgement and it was not necessary to amend the Constitution to overrule this Judgement,’ said Jaitley. 
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