New Delhi, Aug 17: The main opposition parties led by the BJP today tore into Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement over Anna Hazare's arrest saying UPA government's restrictions on public protests were unheard of even during the British period and demanded “bold decisions” to tackle corruption.
Terming the statement as “disappointing” and “not inspiring confidence”, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said in Rajya Sabha that the country was exasperated with the government and the level of corruption in UPA's rule and hence people were protesting in streets.
Jaitley said the problem with the government is there are too many lawyers advising the Prime Minister and nobody understands that political problems have to be solved politically and not by police.
“Do you even recollect from British regime when these kinds of restrictions were imposed on freedom fighters and Gandhiji...you cannot impose such unnecessary conditions,” Jaitley said denouncing the 22 restrictions by the Delhi police on Hazare's protest fast.
The BJP leader was critical of conditions like limiting the number of people attending the protest, its duration and the number of vehicles at the protest site.
“Is Congress party willing to give a guarantee that they will not hold a protest having more than 5,000 people in future?” Jaitley asked.
He said the advisors of the government failed to realise the magnitude of the issue and overwhelming support for Hazare and hence the Prime Minister now has to “hide behind the Delhi Police Commissioner” for the decisions related to Hazare's arrest.
Jaitley called on the Prime Minister to be firm and deal with corruption with a tough hand instead of saying that he had no magic wand to remove corruption overnight. “The Prime Minister is the tallest figure in the country. He can never be helpless.”
The BJP leader said the ruling party was trying to make this an issue of confrontation between Parliament and civil society. Has any body disputed the right of Parliament to make laws? asked Jaitley.
The right question that the government should ask itself is not who frames the laws, but whether it has the political will to fight corruption, said Jaitley.
Truth is India today is exasperated with corruption. It is exaxperated with the dispirited leadership, said Jaitley. “What the government is coming out with is not solution, but coverups”, he added.
All that the civil society group led by Hazare is saying is that they have a right to put forth their view across. As part of this right, they have a right to protest and express dissent, which you are trying to scuttle, said Jaitley.
Truth is you government is too clever by half. You take them (Hazare) up the garden path and then betrayed them. You thought the people of India will take this lying down. When you saw the magnitude of protests yesterday, you went begging to him (Hazare) to come out of jail, said Jaitley.
CPI-M MP Brinda Karat and Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi also teared into the government's statement on Anna arrest. Karat said there were more scams going to be spilled out soon and of them, KG Basin scam will be a big one.