How secrecy was maintained till the Finance Bill was passed
Secrecy and big drama
A lot of secrecy and big drama was happening before the Rahul Gandhi disqualification order was signed by the Speaker of Lok Sabha Om Birla. Congress and other opposition parties were clueless about what was happening behind the scene.
Needed to keep the top two in the loop
There was utmost secrecy. Worse than Budget secrecy. The government’s intention was primarily to get the Union Budget passed. Safety first. The strategy was to make an announcement on the floor of the house as Lok Sabha was meeting at 11 am. Prahalad Joshi, the Union Minister for Parliamentary affairs was busy coordinating between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah while the Speaker’s Office was busy with the implementation part. Modi was on a flight from New Delhi to Varanasi at 8.30 am on Friday. While Home Minister Amit Shah was in Bengaluru having breakfast with B S Yeddyurappa.
Only two in the Parliament office knew…
The disqualification was known only to Om Birla and the typist who was typing the order. Adhir Ranjan Choudhry, Mallikarjun Kharge, and other Congress leaders were busy with the procession, unaware of what was happening behind the scenes inside the Speaker of Lok Sabha office. Insiders narrate what they felt was a best-scenario situation.
Preliminary discussions took place after the verdict
Hours after a Surat court convicted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a 2019 criminal defamation case, a preliminary discussion on the issue was held among top officials on Thursday evening pertaining to his disqualification from Lok Sabha, two functionaries said.
The Lower House was adjourned twice before the notification, signed by secretary general Utpal Kumar Singh before Gandhi’s disqualification was issued. Gandhi was an MP from Wayanad in Kerala.
Wait for Bill to pass before issuing the notification
A government functionary claimed the notification was issued after the Finance Bill was passed to avoid major protests.
“It was better to issue the notification after the Finance Bill was passed and the House was adjourned,” the functionary said, seeking anonymity.
One mandatory requirement arrived only on Friday morning
The Lok Sabha secretariat was waiting for a copy of the court’s judgment – a mandatory requirement – and according to officials, the secretariat received it on Friday morning.
“Once the court order was in hand, it was a simple process that took less than 30 minutes to prepare the file. If it was a case of disqualification under the Tenth Schedule, it would have been a marathon process,” the functionary said.
There were two precedents
The second functionary said the decision-making was easy as there are two precedents in Lok Sabha and many such cases in the history of Parliament. “An institution such as Parliament relies a lot on precedents. In that regard too, we have records of past instances.”
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