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Congress Accuses Opposition Of Opportunism

PTI 16 Aug 2011, 20:56:06 IST

New Delhi, Aug 16: With opposition parties closing ranks in support of Anna Hazare, Congress today decried it as a move based on “political expediency” and warned that it will have serious repercussions for democracy and political process.

“It is entirely result of temporary political expediency.... ignorance of history and humongous ignorance of the Constitution law,” party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said and dismissed suggestions that the situation arising out of Hazare's arrest reminded of Emergency.

He steered clear of questions on whether the party, which had launched a sharp attack on Hazare two days back, has done a course correction.

“There is no deviation. There could be a change of words as also putting things but there is no change in stand,” said Singhvi, who faced a volley of questions including whether he agreed with his colleague Manish Tewari that Hazare was “steeped in corruption from head to toe”.

Singhvi emphasised that if Delhi Police had in their wisdom effected certain “reasonable” restrictions on Hazare, it “is not infallible and if anybody is aggrieved they can approach the dispute redressal mechanism.

“But you do not go to court to challenge it.... It is for the court to decide whether the decision is right or wrong,” he said.

The Congress spokesperson also sought to turn the tables on the opposition over the issue asking them whether they will support indefinite fast on an issue like Lokpal Bill, which has become property of Parliament. He also asked whether the opposition will support regular joint drafting committees.

Singhvi took pains to explain how the government has gone “the extra mile” to accommodate the civil society led by Hazare. He said no other government involved THE civil society in preparing a bill so far.

He said anyone who respects the constitutional process should welcome the fact that the bill has been introduced in Parliament and is now with the concerned Standing Committee.

Besides, he underlined that the Standing Committee had heard Hazare and his colleagues with interest “but to insist that only one version (should prevail) is negation of Parliamentary process and rejection of rule of law as well as insult of all political parties.”

At the outset, Singhvi emphasised that no government has taken more steps than the Congress led UPA in the last two and half years on the issue of corruption. To deal with the scourge effectively, the government entered into 50 bilateral agreements with countries to track black money.

High power committees were constituted to reduce drastically the areas of discretion in decision making. The government has also taken penal action against union ministers senior bureaucrats and senior executives in private firms, some of whom have to go to jail, he said.

Asked whether RSS was backing the civil society movement, he said it was for the media to ask the civil society about it. He suggested that such a thing will put a big question mark over the movement as the Sangh has a very “questionable” history.

A senior party leader, who declined to be identified, however, admitted that Hazare was gradually gaining sympathy. PTI