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The Rahul Raga

Posted by Shreyans Jain Saturday, 28 September 2013 0 comments
“The ordinance is a complete nonsense. It should be torn up and thrown away. The argument being made in my organisation is that we need to do this because of political considerations that everybody does this. There is a time to stop this nonsense. What the government is doing with this is completely wrong”                                            
                             --Rahul Gandhi (Vice President, Indian National Congress)

Rahul Gandhi’s blistering attack on the ordinance seeking to overturn the Supreme Court verdict disqualifying MPs and MLAs upon their conviction has reiterated the fact that we still have leaders with moral conscience. Not only did he deviate from the ‘party line’ which would have otherwise been considered a sacrilege, he stood for the cause of the truth. Indeed, corruption cannot be fought with small compromises and hurling accusations at each other by different political parties will only debilitate our struggle against the menace of corruption. 

The Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2013 was not only a gross violation of the landmark judgement of the Supreme Court but was also a breach of trust that the citizens of this country have bestowed on their leaders. It was tantamount to stabbing in the back of voters who were promised fair governance free from criminals. It was a politically calculated move to shield convicted legislators and the associated corporate interests. Rahul Gandhi’s outburst against the ordinance whose objective has been questioned by the President is legitimate and it should not be seen as an act of embarrassing the Prime Minister or a mockery of the ‘party line’.

What is however contentious is the fact that whether this stunning backtrack on Cabinet decision is a political gimmick to salvage the party and the government’s image. Why such a public condemnation of the ordinance now which was being stubbornly defended by the government despite vehement protests by the Opposition? Why it was not opposed at the very outset when the Bill was being floated in the Rajya Sabha? More importantly, why wasn’t the ordinance opposed in a party meeting and a press conference was chosen instead?

Among the 4,807 total MPs and MLAs, 1460 (30%) declared criminal cases against them and 688 (14%) declared serious criminal cases pending against them. In such a scenario, what we need to do is to prevent the transfer of power into the hands of these criminals. This requires that strict penal action be taken against them and they be debarred from contesting elections in future. Rahul Gandhi’s dissent is laudable because it will ultimately benefit the nation if such an ordinance is stemmed from the root. However, it is incumbent on him to understand that the true mark of a leader is his capacity to speak his mind at the right time and place – and speak it knowing the consequences.


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