Differences within Congress over the way Anna Hazare issue was handled came to the fore today with East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit stating that the Gandhian should not have been arrested and adverse comments made against him could have been avoided.
Asked whether Hazare's arrest was wrong, Dikhit replied in the affirmative. "It was wrong on the part of Delhi police. I would not say it was the decision of UPA government. But I think it was wrong on the part of Delhi police to arrest him," he told reporters.
The Congress MP said if the police thought it would lead to some public disturbance they could have detained him and as they negotiated in the evening for re-evaluation of the site and timing, they could have done that then and there.
"I think Delhi police should have been more proactive and arresting him was wrong. I am happy that the government came to know that it has done a mistake and rectified it. It is the largeness of the government that they made a mistake and rectified it," Dikshit said.
On how to end the standoff between the government and Team Anna, he maintained that Hazare should follow the process and come to the Standing Committee.
"The Bill is with the Standing Committee. The draft Bill goes through substantial changes. I can tell from my experiences as I was with the Standing Committee on Rural Development for NREGA and the Committee on Land Rehabilitation," he said.
The young MP insisted that Standing Committee makes substantial changes to any proposed legislation.
Asked if the government had handled the Hazare crisis badly, Dikshit said, "I don't know if we could have handled it politically differently. This is a new generation of circumstances. I think somewhere perhaps the government could not sieze the depth of seriousness of the matter but ultimately it is not how you handle the situation but how it ends."
He maintained that if Hazare decides to "provide everybody a leadership" and breaks the current impasse, a solution beneficial to everybody would ultimately come out.
Dikshit argued that Hazare could put across his points to the Standing Committee dealing with the Lokpal Bill and insisted that such Committees are very effective and empowered to make drastic changes to Bills.
"I know the working of the Standing Committees. They are open, intelligent, have people representing their communities. I think they are in a good position to understand all points of view and assimilate the realities and people's choices," Dikshit said.
The Congress leader stated that he would urge Hazare to give up his fast now that he has made his point.
"He has made a point and very effectively. In recent history, there has hardly been a people's leader who has made his point so effectively. I would think continuing will actually not lead to a solution. I think the solution is that his leadership is something that everybody accepts," Dikshit said.
The East Delhi MP was full of praise for the Gandhian, saying he had been his inspiration in younger days when he had not yet entered politics.
"Why does he exclude the government from the purview of those whom he can influence? He should show largeness of heart. This is our government, his government. Can we do without it? We can't," Dikshit said.
He insisted that if Hazare had differences with the government he should negotiate with it.
"If there are people in the government that don't construe completely to his own, he should negotiate on that. No one person is entirely correct or entirely wrong," he said.
In reply to a question on personal comments made by Congress leaders against Hazare, Diskhit said this was unfortunate but comments had also been made against the Congress from some quarters.
"I think personal attack is a bad side of what we do. I think they should be best forgotten. I think people who do that must learn from their mistakes," he said.