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Centre’s white paper recalls Rahul Gandhi’s 2013 ordinance ‘tearing’ incident. What had happened?

In a bid to highlight the difference in handling of the Indian economy during the years of the UPA government with those of NDA, the Narendra Modi-led Central government on Thursday tabled a white paper in the Lok Sabha.

In the white paper, the Modi-led central government claimed that it inherited the economy in bad shape and crisis in 2014 and blamed the leadership of the UPA government for it.

“The UPA government inherited (in 2004) a healthy economy ready for more reforms, but made it non-performing in its ten years,” the white paper said.

In particular, the white paper mentioned an instance in 2013 when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had “torn” his own government’s proposed ordinance overturning a Supreme Court judgment.

The white paper by the BJP government claimed that the instance reflected a crisis of leadership in the UPA government.

“Time and again, there was a leadership crisis in the UPA government. It came out in full public glare in the shameful public tearing up of an ordinance issued by the government,” the white paper said.

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White paper recalled the incident of 2013

On September 28, 2013, Rahul Gandhi lashed out at an ordinance passed by his government that gave convicted lawmakers a three-month reprieve to retain their seats – a precedent set in the Lily Thomas vs Union of India case, where the Supreme Court ruled that lawmakers including MPs would immediately lose their membership if sentenced to a minimum term of two years.

Gandhi, the vice president of the Congres at the time, dubbed the ordinance “complete nonsense” and recommended it should be “torn apart” after the UPA government’s cabinet approved the executive order to protect leaders from disqualification.

“My opinion of the ordinance is that it is complete nonsense and should be torn up and thrown away,” he had said.

Critics at the time had said that the incident was a reflection of Rahul Gandhi’s attitude towards the office of the prime minister that he had undermined.

In 2019, Rahul Gandhi told HT that he did, like everyone else, have a list of mistakes that he had made. “Everyone makes mistakes, I’m only human,” he said to a question about his set of mistakes and if he counted tearing up the ordinance as one.

“That was an expression I had. Maybe it was expressed in a way that was too aggressive. But see, I would never learn without regret. I could never love people without having hate thrown at me. I wouldn’t know what it means. So yes, of course, every human being has regrets. I’m sure you do too,” Gandhi said in the episode that is frequently cited by his detractors to attack him.

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