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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

CPM, CPI differ on civil society draft of bill

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 24, 2011
First Published: 00:42 IST(24/6/2011) | Last Updated: 00:46 IST(24/6/2011)

While CPM lambasted the “so-called civil society” for trying to “undermine” parliamentary democracy, as well the as the government for the inept handling of lokpal bill issue, its Left partner, CPI appeared to be in agreement with Anna Hazare team’s draft.

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“Absolutely outrageous comments by some of the civil society leaders are being heard in the electronic media questioning the right of the MLAs and MPs to represent the vast millions of Indians. This is nothing but showing contempt for our parliamentary democracy...,” said an editorial in CPM mouthpiece People’s Democracy.

“This contempt the civil society leaders have for the people, the voters and the electoral system must be rejected. These leaders will do well to remember that it is these common voters who through their electoral verdicts defeated the authoritarian streak in Indian democracy in 1977,” the editorial said.

The CPM also came down heavily on the government for postponing the monsoon session of Parliament, which it said was to buy time to negotiate with sections of the “civil society” over the Lokpal bill.

On the other hand, CPI had a different take on the issue.

“I agree with most of the points in the draft on the bill by the civil society. I do think it can form a basis but those who claim that if Lokpal Bill comes into operation, the country will be rid of corruption are living in a fool's, paradise,” party general secretary AB Bardhan said here.

 Though he appreciated the civil society members for their efforts, he termed their claims as “highly exaggerated”.

“What does a civil society mean? Who are its members? Can they speak on behalf of the entire country? The five members have an exaggerated notion about themselves. One must be modest...”  

Condemning the motivated “smear campaign” by Congress leader Digvijay Singh against the civil society, he said: “The people he is speaking about are men of dignity. He is in-creditable to speak. He for sure does not belong to the civil society.”

Anna ready to face bullets; Digvijaya retracts

Anna Hazare on Thursday said he was not afraid of death and dared the government to fire bullets in the event of his going on a fast to press for a strong Lokpal bill.

“Anna is not afraid of death. They can fire bullets and not just use lathis to repress our agitation...,” he told reporters.

The anti-corruption crusader said this in Pune when asked to comment on Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh’s remarks on his plans to go on a fast from August 16.

Singh, however, denied he had said Hazare would be treated similarly as Ramdev if he goes on a fast. “I am surprised and pained at reports...which quoted me as saying that the treatment given to Ramdev would also be meted out to Anna Hazare.” 
 HTC, pune/bhopal

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