New Delhi, Aug 17 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Maneka Gandhi on Wednesday criticized the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, over his statement on the arrest of veteran social activist Anna Hazare.
"If the Prime Minister concedes that he (Anna Hazare) has the right to protest, then conditions cannot be laid. The conditions that were laid were ridiculous. He (Hazare) asked to sit for one month, he would have sat for one month. To limit him to three days, which magic formula that works in three days? Gandhi told mediapersons outside the Parliament here.
"And then to arrest and then to release him on equally specious grounds, seems to make a mockery of democracy," she added.
Emphasising that Hazare may be inspired by high ideals in his campaign to set up a effective Lok Pal, the Prime Minister earlier in the day said the former had sought to impose his version of the Lokpal Bill which was "totally misconceived".
Making a statement on Hazare's arrest in Parliament, Dr. Singh said: I acknowledge that Hazare may be inspired by high ideals in his campaign to set up a strong and effective Lok Pal. However, the path that he has chosen to impose his draft of a Bill upon Parliament is totally misconceived and fraught with grave consequences for our parliamentary democracy."
Making it clear that the issue between the government and Anna Hazare is not one of different attitudes to fighting corruption, Dr. Singh said:" In my Independence Day address, I spoke at length about the need to deal effectively with corruption. I would like to assure the House that we are determined to provide a government that is transparent, accountable and responsive at all times and determined to fight corruption."
"But as I said on 15 August at the Red Fort, there is no magic wand by which, in one stroke, we will get rid of menace the of corruption. We have to work simultaneously on several fronts. In my address, I have outlined some of the measures we intend to put in place to strengthen our fight against corruption. I invite all sections of this House to join hands with us to deal with the cancer of corruption," he added.
Meanwhile, Anna Hazare and his team are in discussions with the government and police over the venue of the fast.
According to latest reports, Delhi Police is insisting that the fast onto death protest be limited to five days at J.P Park. But Hazare and his team have said that they are okay with a change of venue, but must be allowed to fast for at least a month.
Delhi Police arrested Hazare on Tuesday along with many of his supporters; hours before he was due to begin an indefinite hunger strike to demand tough laws against corruption. (ANI)