New Delhi, Aug 14: Anna Hazare's team on Sunday hit out at Congress for levelling allegations against the Gandhian saying the charges only betrayed the party's “nervousness” in the face of his proposed fast and wondered whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was responsible only to his office and not to the country.
As Congress raised its pitch seeking to puncture Hazare's morality plank by telling him to first clarify the “serious findings” of Justice P.B. Sawant Commission against him and his trusts, his close associate Kiran Bedi said Congress spokesman Manish Tewari seems to be “under stress” to defend his party.
“Such an allegation speaks of visible nervousness of Anna's call for it has reached out to all victims of corruption,” Bedi said.
Claiming that the country is fortunate to have the likes of Mr. Hazare, she said the Gandhian is a recipient of some of the most prestigious national awards like Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri and “the first basis of all these is integrity“.
She said one has to either crush corruption or be ready to stay crushed by it. “August 16 (when Hazare starts his indefinite fast), provides an opportunity and Anna will not be here forever,” she said.
Mr. Tewari claimed that team Anna consists of “armchair fascists, over-ground Maoists, closet anarchists ...lurking behing forces of right reaction and funded by invisible donors whose links may go back a long way abroad“.
On the Prime Minister's late night letter to Mr. Hazare asking him to approach Delhi Police on the issue of his protest venue, activist Arvind Kejriwal said, “It seems that the Prime Minister is responsible for PMO and not for the country.
If the Constitution is not followed, if fundamental rights are not allowed, if there is a problem, it seems he is hesitating to take responsibility,” he alleged.
In a late night response to Hazare who rejected Delhi police's conditions to limit his protest to three days and 5,000 people, Singh told the social activist that his grievances needed to be “addressed by the statutory authorities who have taken the decision...my office does not in any way get involved in the decision-making process.”
Kejriwal said it was wrong for the Prime Minister to say that the letter giving permission was not given by his office and he is not responsible for it.
“It is very depressing that the Prime Minister says this is too small a matter for him to bother about,” lawyer Prashant Bhushan said.
Kejriwal said there were several conditions which are unacceptable to them because it was unconstitutional. “It is very interesting that we gathered at Jantar Mantar on April five without any such clause. They never asked for any undertaking,” he claimed.
Hazare accused the government of “deceit” by putting conditions on his agitation and sought the intervention of the Prime Minister asking him to “show courage” and protect his fundamental rights.
Singh said “the terms and conditions on which you are entitled to carry on with your protest are decided by the statutory authorities concerned taking into account the prevailing circumstances and other relevant factors“.
The Prime Minister went on to add, “We are all committed to the Constitution of India and to uphold it in both letter and spirit“. PTI