Two days of intensive meetings on Sunday ended in a bit of an anti-climax as the Union Cabinet chose not to pursue the ordinance route to bring in five anti-corruption legislations favoured by Rahul Gandhi. At the same time, three steps went through. These include two ordinances — one for Jat reservation, another to amend the Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act — plus some fine-tuning of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill.
Faced with President Pranab Mukherjee’s reluctance to sign a clutch of anti-graft ordinances after the life of the 15th Lok Sabha has virtually ended, the Cabinet had no option but to drop the idea of pushing through Rahul’s pet bills. Along with the anti-graft laws, the Disabilities Bill was another Rahul project that came a cropper. The President reportedly was of the view that it would “not be wise” to rush through such bills from “an outgoing government” without proper discussion in Parliament and political consensus. These five bills had been showcased as Rahul’s counter to the high-decibel political charge of fostering corruption, being flung at the Congress from both Modi and Kejriwal campaigns.
Instead, the marathon Cabinet meeting decided to restrict itself to two ordinances that had to be rushed in before the Election Commission notifies the Lok Sabha poll, which may happen this week. The anti-graft bills were not even formally taken up for discussion by the Cabinet, which met almost an hour after schedule on a day of hectic meetings.
One of these two crucial laws extends quota in Central government jobs to Jats in whichever State the community is represented.