It is very disappointing to see a prime minister, who is about to complete a decade in office in a few months, is explaining the ordinance to shield convicted politicians to the vice-president of his party, Rahul Gandhi, who is just an MP. He does this after the latter's superman-like performance at a press meet where he trashed the ordinance as 'nonsense'.
Now, since the man with a surname of 'Gandhi' has sought rejection of the ordinance, the party and the government are trying to find a way out of the mess. Is this how a government supposed to function? Reacting to the whims of an elite individual?
Whether Rahul spoke good words about the PM privately doesn't matter now
It doesn't matter whether Rahul Gandhi wrote good words to the prime minister after his outburst and saying that his opinion was the reflection of the public mood when meeting Singh in person. At the press meet of September 27, the Congress vice-president said it was his personal opinion. Personal, public, party, government, allies... there are too many opinions doing the rounds in the UPA government at the moment and there is no certainty about which will prevail ultimately.
It will be a challenge for the Congress to hold its coalition together
Rahul Gandhi, in an attempt to revive the images of himself and his party, has actually put the Manmohan Singh government in a big spot. It is not important whether Singh will resign after the 'humiliation', the real danger for the UPA for here on will be to keep itself together till the next elections.
Some senior Congress leaders skipped Wednesday's crucial core group meeting on the ordinance while key parties like the NCP and the SP have expressed their dissatisfaction over Rahul Gandhi's act. Narendra Modi capitalised on the 'division' in the UPA during speech in New Delhi on September 29. Forget revival of the Congress's image, the beleaguered party might have to face a struggle for survival of its coalition now.
Danger for Congress both ways now
If the government decides to withdraw the ordinance now, it will be dubbed as anti-democracy and there could be a possibility of UPA coalition suffering a jolt. If the government does not and go on with the idea of shielding convicted politicians, Manmohan Singh's image will be little improved in the public domain and he could face a bigger humiliation from the party. Caught between the family and the party, the Congress-led government doesn't have many options to explore.
Rahul Gandhi could have done it a better way by raising the issue with the prime minister first and then make a moderate remark in the open. By putting the cart before the horse, the crown prince has terribly harmed his own government.