Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was apparently taken completely by surprise by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's attack on the ordinance on convicted lawmakers, but he "will deal with the matter" only after his return to India next week.
The Congress vice president's blunt denunciation of the controversial ordinance -- that seeks to negate the Supreme Court verdict immediately disqualifying convicted Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly as "complete nonsense" -- happened in New Delhi while the prime minister was sleeping in his suite in the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington.
Dr Singh's aides were woken up by media personnel, who were seeking a reaction to Gandhi’s attack, including the comment that the government decision on the ordinance, which is now before President Pranab Mukherjee, was "wrong".
No immediate reaction was forthcoming.
Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said Dr Singh would "deal with the matter" only on his return to New Delhi on October 1.
The PM's aides, who were preparing for Dr Singh's meeting with President Barack Obama later in the day, went into a huddle but refrained from making any public comments.