Congress communication department chief Ajay Maken was forced to defend Rahul Gandhi's open denouncement of a controversial ordinance that seeks to shield convicted lawmakers.
"Rahul Gandhi is our leader. His view is now the official view of the Congress party," Maken said after Rahul said in his personal opinion the ordinance should be "torn up and thrown away."
"Situations evolve," Maken said, fielding hordes of curious reporters who wanted to know whether there was a lack of coordination between the party and the government over the issue.
"Rahul Gandhi is an independent thinking person. If he opposes the ordinance, the Congress also opposes it," he said as journalists thronged around him after Rahul Gandhi left after making his brief but politically loaded statements.
He denied Gandhi's statement was a public snub to the prime minister.
The cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, cleared the ordinance Tuesday. The prime minister left the next day on a five-day US trip.
"As I said situations evolve," an apparently uncomfortable Maken repeated.
On being asked if the government would now withdraw the controversial ordinance that has evoked sharp reactions from the opposition and the public, Maken said: "Let us see what happens. The president is seized of the matter. An appropriate decision will be taken at an appropriate time."
Hinting what could be the fate of the ordinance, Maken further said: "The view of the Congress should be supreme."
The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday approached President Pranab Mukherjee and urged him not to sign the ordinance. The president has sought clarifications from Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Law Minister Kapil Sibal.
--IANS (Posted on 27-09-2013)