The Union cabinet is likely to meet on October 3 or 4 to take a call on possible withdrawal of the controversial ordinance on convicted lawmakers, whose fate appears to have already been sealed after Rahul Gandhi's strong denunciation of it.
As the party crisis managers got into a damage control mode, the government sources indicated on Saturday that a meeting of the Union cabinet to deliberate on the ordinance is likely to take place on October 3 or 4.
An indication about the likely fate of the ordinance was available when Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said that Gandhi expressed the view of many people in the party, obviously suggesting that the government should have a "re-look" into it. His deputy in the ministry Rajiv Shukla insisted that the party's job is to give direction to the government.
"In the last six decades, there have been a number of occasions, when the party has got the government's stand changed. The party's job is to give direction to the government. The government always owes explanation to the party because the party is the one, which decides the policies and guides the government. So, the party is a guiding force. So if the suggestion has come from the party, then that has to be given weightage by the government," Shukla said.
Nath, who had on Thursday gone to President Pranab Mukherjee to explain to him the rationale behind bringing the ordinance, downplayed the change in the party stand. "It's only normal and natural that there will be divergence in views. It has happened in the past and the prime minister is responding. It is our party. It is his (Rahul Gandhi's) view and he has expressed the view of many many people in the party, so obviously suggesting that the government should have a re-look at it..The PM said that he will address the issue, when he is back," Nath said.
Nath also ridiculed the BJP for demanding that Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh should quit. "The BJP has been saying this for last five years. Every morning in the last two-three months, they wake up and try to find a reason as to why the PM should resign," Nath said.
Shukla also said that the issue should not be seen in the context of any attack on the prime minister. "It should not be seen as some humiliation has been caused to the government or the PM," he said.
After his public outburst critical of the government, Gandhi had on Friday night reached out to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying that he has the "greatest admiration" for his leadership in extremely difficult circumstances but also hoped that Dr Singh will understand the strength of his own conviction against this very controversial issue.
Party general secretary Digvijaya Singh hailed Dr Singh for convincing the US on the issue of terror in a post on Twitter. In another tweet, he, also welcomed Gandhi's attack on the ordinance, saying it has "punctured BJP's double speak".