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Rahul meets PM over controversial ordinance

Sources said Rahul met Singh at his residence here and the meeting between the two lasted 30 minutes.


Rahul Gandhi and PM Manmohan Singh at Shakti Samadhi, New Delhi. Pic:Imtiyaz Khan

The controversial ordinance was understood to be on the agenda and the two leaders discussed the way ahead on the issue, the sources said.

Rahul had earlier this week said at a press conference that the ordinance is "nonsense" and should be "torn up and thrown away". Many saw this as an embarrassment for the Prime Minister and the Opposition vociferously demanded that Singh, who was on a visit to the US at the time, should step down after his return. However, Singh on his return last night ruled out any such possibility.

The sources said the government is mulling whether to withdraw the ordinance- which was sent to President Pranab Mukherjee after the Cabinet had cleared it- or ask the President to exercise his pocket veto and sit over it.

The Prime Minister will today preside over the Cabinet after meeting the President who is said to have reservations over the move to provide immunity to MPs and MLAs from immediate disqualification overriding a Supreme Court judgement on the issue.

A meeting of the Congress core group that includes party chief Sonia Gandhi, the Prime Minister and top ministers will precede the Cabinet meet.

Law Minister Kapil Sibal may be called to the meeting. The Cabinet note for today's meeting talks of two options -- await the promulgation of the ordinance by the President or withdraw it.

However, all indications from government and party sources are that the Cabinet may have no option but to withdraw it in the wake of strong attack on it by Gandhi.

The note to the Cabinet, before which the ordinance is the only agenda for tomorrow as of now, also speaks of deferring to the "sentiments of the public at large" on the issue.

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