New Delhi, Aug 26: Rahul Gandhi's “game changing idea” of making Lokpal a constitutional body like the Election Commission was supported by Team Anna which however felt it was only a long term solution while BJP asked the Congress leader to stop giving “sermons”.
Key members of Team Anna at the same time termed Gandhi's speech in the Lok Sabha on Lokpal issue as “disappointing” since he should have said something on immediate issues raised by the Gandhian with Kiran Bedi saying “You climb hills before you reach Mt Everest.”
“It's a game changing idea,” Rahul told reporters outside Parliament House after he broke his silence in the Lok Sabha on the Anna Hazare issue.
Welcoming Rahul's suggestion to give Lokpal a Election Commission-type status, Activist Medha Patkar said “I earnestly support it.”
Patkar said in spite of talking about the broad issue, the Congress General Secretary should have deliberated on the immediate issues raised by the Gandhian, whose fast for a strong Lokpal entered the 11th day today.
“Today's urgency and concerns for lakhs and lakhs of people have not been addressed,” she said, adding “He did not comment on the Lokpal Bill that he should have courageously done.
Kiran Bedi said, “The country is impatient for action and implementation and not a mere well-intentioned long plan on issues pending since independence.
“You climb hills before you reach Mt Everest. Lokpal is a tall hill which will take you to the Everest. Begin and prove the intention,” Bedi said.
Another Team Anna member Justice Santosh Hegde said Gandhi's suggestion for a constitutional body looks like a “five-year plan”.
“Until the constitutional body is established there should be a stautory body to eradicate corruption. If we go on waiting we will have to wait for another 42 years,” he said.
BJP while criticising Rahul's speech said he should not give sermons to the nation but persuade the Prime Minister to bring changes in the Lokpal bill.
“We don't want Rahul's sermons. It is surprising that he is giving sermons to the nation but his party under Manmohan Singh is dilly-dallying on a strong Lokpal issue. We urge him to stop sermonising and persuade Prime Minister to bring changes in the Lokpal Bill,” BJP leader Ananth Kumar said.
Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar, a key Hazare supporter, said Rahul's suggestion was a “welcome move” but felt he could have said something more on how to handle the situation arising out of Hazare's 11-day fast in its current form.
On Gandhi's observation that Lokpal alone cannot be a substitute for anti-corruption code, former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan, a Team Anna member, quoting Hazare said that one Lokpal will not eradicate corruption in the country, but it will make a beginning.
“Bill for Lokpal does not clash with the constitutional body which Rahul Gandhi is suggesting. It can function even as a constitutional body,” he said. PTI