New Delhi: Ahead of the Hisar parliamentary bypoll Oct 13, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday assured Anna Hazare on the proposed anti-graft Lokpal bill even as the Congress attacked the activist over his “links” with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh.
“As you know, we are committed to a strong Lokpal bill. And we hope that we will be successful in our endeavour in the near future,” Manmohan Singh said in his letter to Hazare that was written on Monday but released Tuesday.
In his letter, written in Hindi, the prime minister said that his government was working on an “exhaustive agenda to fight corruption and improve governance”.
“Our government is also considering several proposals regarding electoral reforms. Among the suggestions that are being considered is the right to reject which you have also mentioned,” he added.
Taking on Anna Hazare ahead of the Hisar parliamentary by-poll, however, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh Tuesday asked the activist to ponder over his association with “Congress opponents” and see who was benefiting from this.
Team Anna hit back, saying their movement should not be held responsible if it benefits the opposition.
In an open letter to Hazare, the Congress leader said: “You are surrounded by people opposed to the Congress ideology.”
“Be it Shanti Bhushan, his son Prashant or your associate Arvind Kejriwal… they have all been Congress opponents… are busy pursuing their political ends and are exploiting your clean image,” Digvijay Singh said in his letter released to the media Tuesday.
Kejriwal reacted by saying “our movement should not be held responsible if in any way it benefits the opposition”.
“We are fighting for systemic changes. We are not campaigning for anyone or asking voters to vote for a particular candidate. We are not responsible if opposition is benefited. It is the Congress which is responsible for this,” Kejriwal told reporters in Hisar that goes to poll Thursday.
Digvijay Singh, hinting at Hazare’s recent call to defeat the Congress in the Oct 13 Hisar Lok Sabha by-election, said “the activist was taking one-sided decisions, against his values, under the influence of such people”.
“You must think who is benefiting from your decisions. When you oppose the Congress, who are you seen with,” he asked.
Casting doubts on the credibility of Hazare over his links with the RSS, Digvijay Singh said: “Your statements that you are not aware of RSS supporting your cause, raise doubts about your credibility.”
The BJP hit back at Digvijay Singh and said the RSS was a “school of patriotism” which laid stress on building a strong character.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said: “It is school of patriotism…RSS had also fought against Emergency and it did not have to learn lessons in patriotism from Digvijay Singh.”
Stating that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had announced a five-point anti-graft programme at the party’s Burari session here in December last year, Digvijay Singh said she had even asked the National Advisory Council to prepare a draft Lokpal bill.
Stating “it was good that clean people like Hazare joined mainstream politics,” Digvijay Singh said: “This should not be done with an anti-Congress sentiment.”
Taking a dig at the BJP, Om Prakash Chautala-led Indian National Lok Dal and the Haryana Janhit Congress started by former Congressman Bhajan Lal, Digvijay Singh said: “If you are seen along with the corrupt in your fight against graft, how will the menace be curbed.”
“You never raised a voice against the BJP. As compared to your excitement against the Congress, you praise Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi where there had been no Lokayukta for 9 years,” said Digvijay Singh.