New Delhi, Aug 16: In the wake of Anna Hazare's arrest, BJP today said a “nervous” UPA government was adopting an “undemocratic attitude” by laying down unreasonable conditions on peaceful protestors and misusing the police to serve its ends.
“The government has been adopting an undemocratic attitude outside Parliament till now. Today this was seen inside the Parliament as well... This government has lost its balance and this is becoming obvious time and again,” Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj told reporters.
She was referring to Congress members in both Houses not allowing the respective Leader of Opposition to speak on Hazare's arrest despite the Chair asking them to do so.
She claimed that the government had acted in an undemocratic manner when Baba Ramdev was holding his protest as also in the case of Anna Hazare.
“This government allows separatists to come and air their views in the capital but whenever a saffron clad saint or a Gandhi-cap activist holds an agitation they don't allow it,” Swaraj said.
She insisted that Hazare's arrest was “unjustified” and demanded his immediate release.
“Anna had not even reached Jaiprakash Narayan park when he was arrested. Section 144 was not imposed at his residence.... The Home Minister says he does not know where Anna has been kept. This government is nervous. It is not being run by the Prime Minister or the Home Minister. Police are running this government,” Swaraj said.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley maintained that some people may have differences with Hazare but in a democracy everybody has a right to peaceful protest and to express his views.
“Dissent is the essence of democracy. It is true that the last word will be that of Parliament but any individual or group or political party has the right to air its views and register its protest peacefully. This political leadership is hiding behind the police. They have tried to take away the right to dissent, the right to protest,” Jaitley said.
He insisted that the government should lay down reasonable, and not impossible, conditions. “There can be no conditionalities which render redundant or odiose your very right to protest. We are hearing for the first time that a small protest will be allowed but a large protest will not be allowed,” he said.
Jaitley challenged the Congress to give an undertaking that in future it will not hold any agitation in which the number of protestors goes beyond 5,000.
“By laying down impossible conditions this political leadership has shown it has no courage of conviction and they are now trying to hide behind the men in uniform... They are changing the very idiom of politics. What their spokesmen and ministers talk smacks of smugness,” Jaitley said.
He also referred to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent statement that his government is “perceived” to be most dishonest.
The opposition demanded that in a democracy the Prime Minister should make a statement and not the police commissioner. PTI