In a first sign of discord within the Congress over the UPA government's decision to arrest Anna Hazare, party MP Sandeep Dikshit on Friday said it was mistake and urged the social activist to guide the Centre to break the deadlock on the lokpal bill.
"It was a mistake to arrest Hazare. The government realised its mistake and rectified it by releasing him. I would want him (Anna) to guide the government and help break this impasse, the way he has supported the public," Dikshit said.
This is the first time any Congress leader has openly criticised the government for its action.
Sandeep is the son of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and a Lok Sabha MP from East Delhi. He is also the Congress party's deputy chief whip in the lower house.
Earlier in the day, while addressing a gathering in West Vinod Nagar on the eve of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's birth anniversary, Dikshit said the government might have erred in gauging the mood of the people.
But he was quick to add that these were his personal views.
The Congress MP had earlier also voiced his opposition on the move to keep the legislature out of the drafting of the Jan Lokpal Bill.
In a letter to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was co-chairperson of the drafting committee along with former law minister Shanti Bhushan, Dikshit said that as an MP he too had a stake in law making.
"Ten people cannot decide the fate of such an important piece of legislation…. making the framing of the law time bound is dangerous," he wrote.
In a related development, minister of state for parliamentary affairs Harish Rawat called Hazare a hero of heroes.
"Any person who is a social activist and fighting for a cause of the people of the country is a hero. His cause should be channelised properly," he said.