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Congress accuses Anna as insulting Parliament

New Delhi, Dec 12 (): Team Anna appeared to emphasizing one point above all: they had returned to Jantar Mantar with an agenda larger than the (Jan) Lokpal. The Bill must be passed this winter session, or else there would be a “jail bharo aandolan”, said Anna. “Not a single jail will remain empty,” he promised.

But the larger goal was another law, or constitutional amendment, to ensure that “the people” are given a say in law-making. Representative democracy — that pact, in Anna Hazare’s own words, between “malik” and “sevak” — was sought not so much to be recast as cast aside for a more radical, direct notion of democracy.

Accusing the Opposition of “double standards”, the government today asked why it was raising the Lokpal issue on streets when Parliament was in session. “In a democracy, there is a platform for discussion on every issue. Parliament is the best forum for discussion,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters outside Parliament House here.

Congress accused Hazare of insulting Parliament with his campaign at Jantar Mantar and said the congregation at the fast venue was nothing but coming together of detractors of the party and the government.

At the same time, law minister Salman Khurshid said, “Parliamentary democracy is based on discussion and there should be discussion on every issue.”

Asked whether opposition did the right thing in discussing Lokpal issue outside Parliament, Khurshid said, “This should also be discussed in Parliament.”

Opposition leaders yesterday joined Anna Hazare’s protest at Jantar Mantar demanding a strong Lokpal.

The Opposition has backed Anna Hazare’s demands for the inclusion of Prime Minister, lower bureaucracy and citizen’s charter within the ambit of the proposed Lokpal. However, it urged his team to exhibit flexibility and leave the nitty-gritty of the law to Parliament.

On Sunday, Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi said that whatever happened at Jantar Mantar was premature and they should have waited for the final shape of Lokpal Bill which would be passed by Parliament.

“Laws cannot be made at Jantar Mantar. I have no hesitation in saying that Annaji is insulting Parliament,” Alvi said, adding that the activist has had his say and should now allow Parliament to carry out its mandate.