Thursday, March 23, 2006
The leader of the governing Congress party Sonia Gandhi has resigned as Member of Parliament. The decision comes in the wake of opposition allegations that an ordinance on holding an office of profit was aimed at protecting her.
Gandhi also resigned from the National Advisory Council. Shortly afterwards Gandhi said she will again contest for the Rae Bareilli seat in Parliament.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is meeting Gandhi at her residence along with Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee.Sources told , the government is planning to introduce a Bill in Parliament to redefine offices of profit for MPs.The government also indicated a meeting of all political groups before the Bill is introduced.The ordinance earlier was aimed at identifying 62 posts as offices of non-profit, including the post of Chairperson of the National Advisory Council.
The government's ally the CPI(M) said the law can change but the decision should be left to Parliament. On the issue, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said that the definition of an office of profit is in a grey area and needs to be sorted out as soon as possible.Opposition pressureOn Wednesday both Houses of Parliament adjourned amid an opposition uproar against the ordinance.Opposition MPs met President APJ Abdul Kalam on Wednesday seeking Gandhi's disqualification as an MP. They say the complaint has now been forwarded by the President to the Election Commission.But Chief Election Commissioner BB Tandon has said the EC has yet to receive any complaints against Gandhi.
He, however, added that the law is the same for all. Nine Left MPs are on the list of people accused of holding such offices of profit.Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who is a CPI(M) member is also accused of holding an office of profit.