A cautious UPA government defended the day-long detention of Anna Hazare but ensured it doesn’t come out as a harsh critic of the social activist. UPA ministers refrained from any personal attack and maintained they were on the same side as Anna on the issue of corruption.
But at the same time, the government made it clear that it can’t allow a law and order situation on the streets.
Home minister P Chidambaram emphasised that as Hazare told police on Tuesday morning that he intends to defy the prohibitory orders, the police felt that he and his supporters would commit a cognisable offence. “They invoked article 107 and 151 of CrPC which calls for preventive measures," he said at a press meet.
Trying to tone down the confrontation on the issue of corruption, the UPA managers said they share Hazare’s concerns. Union minister Kapil Sibal, who has often been on the receiving end of Anna’s barbs, said: "We are on Anna’s side and Anna is on our side." Chidambaram too, admitted to "great deal of angst and anger among people” on corruption. But said lokpal was not a panacea but one of the answers to tackle corruption.
Soon after Hazare’s detention, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi met finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram.
Later, Urban development minister Kamal Nath also dropped in. Earlier, a Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also met to discuss the prevailing situation.
“This is not a pleasant task and none of us is happy trying to explain the circumstances under which certain events have taken place,” home minister later said adding that the government tried to reach out to Anna Hazare on Monday but the efforts remained futile.
Addressing a press conference of GoM on media, Chidambaram pointed out that if Hazare and his supporters were unhappy with the conditions imposed by the Police they will have to challenged it in a court.
Maintaining that the government is not clamping on right for peaceful protests he said, "Laws cannot be made by social activists in a maidan."