New Delhi: It was an unusually aggressive Rahul Gandhi whose outburst on Friday effectively killed an ordinance that protected convicted legislators. On Wednesday, the Cabinet made a formal decision to withdraw the ordinance, which it had approved just last week.
Mr Gandhi, say both critics and supporters, has shown who is the boss.
His intervention suggested a generational shift in the Congress with several young party members like Priya Dutt, Sandeep Dkishit and Milind Deora openly criticizing the ordinance.
Amid criticism that Mr Gandhi's outburst undermined the PM, many in the party hope it also signals that Mr Gandhi is ready to take charge with general elections only months away. He has so far been erratic in his intervention and has been criticized for not making his views known on important issues.
The PM has already said he will be happy "to work for the Congress party under the leadership of Mr Gandhi."
But Opposition parties have slammed Rahul Gandhi for the manner in which he made his displeasure over the bill known, deeply embarrassing Dr Manmohan Singh during his US trip.
The BJP's Arun Jaitley said, "The PM has been completely diminished... he won't even be a footnote in history."
UPA ally Sharad Pawar, sources said, made the point at the meeting of ministers today that the PM and the cabinet are institutions that cannot be undermined.
Mr Gandhi met the PM this morning and reportedly expressed his regret for going public with his censure. But, sources said, Mr Gandhi reiterated his staunch opposition, seen as the catalyst for the government's deciding to withdraw the ordinance.
Today's decision, argued union minister Manish Tewari, upheld democracy and sent the message that "we respect the diversity of views." Rahul Gandhi, he said, possibly based his views on a "wider feedback which he had got".