Congress says it walked ‘extra mile’ to accommodate Anna

New Delhi: The Congress Tuesday said the ruling coalition had walked the “extra mile” to accommodate the concerns of social activist Anna Hazare in drafting the anti-corruption Lokpal bill.

“No other government involved the civil society in preparing a bill so far. The government walked the extra mile to accommodate the civil society led by Hazare,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters.

He was speaking on the situation following the arrest of Hazare who was stopped by the government from holding an indefinite fast to press for a stronger anti-corruption bill that brings the prime minister under the ambit of the proposed ombudsman.

The activists led by Hazare are vehemently opposed to the government’s draft bill which is presently in parliament because they think it is too weak to curb rampant corruption in India.

But Singhvi said anyone who respected the constitutional process “will welcome the fact that the bill has been introduced in parliament and is now with a standing committee”.

“To insist that only one version (is supreme) is negation of parliamentary process and rejection of rule of law as well as insult of all political parties,” said Singhvi, adding the standing committee having representation of cross section of political groups in parliament had heard the activists.

About Hazare’s arrest, the Congress spokesman said “it is not infallible” if Delhi Police had in their wisdom effected certain “reasonable” restrictions on Hazare.

“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.

He alleged that opposition parties were rallying behind social activist Anna Hazare out of “political expediency”.

“It is entirely the result of temporary political expediency, ignorance of history and of the constitution law,” the Congress said. (IANS)