NEW DELHI: Under attack from the opposition for bringing an ordinance to protect lawmakers from immediate disqualification, the government today hit back, accusing BJP of changing its stand on overturning a Supreme Court judgement on the issue.
“They are entitled to change their mind but just because you change your mind, you should not say everybody should change their mind,” Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here.
He recalled that in the all-party meeting on August 13, there was a “unanimous demand” that something should be done relating to the Supreme Court judgement on section 62(5) and section 8(4) of the Representation of People Act.
While the verdict on section 62 (5) said those in jail cannot contest polls, the one on section 8(4) said MPs, MLAs and MLCs will not get three month time to challenge their conviction and sentence in a criminal case with a jail term of two years and more, and lose their membership immediately.
Taking the battle to the BJP camp on the issue, he wondered as to how a controversial Gujarat Minister Babubhai Bokhiria was holding office by taking recourse to the struck down provisions of the Representation of the People Act.
“He has been convicted for a period of three years. How is he holding office today and remaining minister. By virtue of section 8(4), as it tends to, that section has been struck down, so should not BJP feel pains of conscience and ask him to step down.
“A BJP minister continuing to hold office after conviction even after section 8(4) is struck down. How can that be reconciled with their present position,” he asked. -PTI