Riding the wave of popularity generated by its movement for a strong anti-corruption Lokpal Bill, Team Anna on Sunday said its leader, Anna Hazare, was above Parliament.
On its part, the Congress — the target of Team Anna’s latest campaign in Haryana’s Hisar Lok Sabha constituency, ahead of the October 13 bypolls — called the social activist the BJP-led opposition’s joint presidential candidate for the 2012 polls.
“Of course, he (Hazare) is putting himself above (Parliament). Every citizen is above Parliament…. The citizen has every right to say Parliament has not done the job,” Team Anna’s Arvind Kejriwal said in a TV interview, justifying Hazare’s fast to get the bill passed by Parliament.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari had assured Hazare of support for his Jan Lokpal Bill in Parliament. Campaigning against the Congress in Hisar, Kejriwal warned the BJP of similar treatment against it in Uttar Pradesh — which goes to polls next year — if it fails to keep its word.
Countering the anti-Congress campaign in Hisar, party general secretary Digvijaya Singh said at a public function in Agra: “I have heard the BJP has told Anna Hazare he could be an all-party candidate for the 2012 presidential election.”
Kejriwal responded: “Anna Hazare does not want to become President. He only wants to make India a corruption-free country.”
Seeking a clarification from Hazare, Singh accused the social activist of being a “mask” for anti-Congress parties. “Hazare is appealing to voters to defeat the Congress knowing full well the credentials of the other parties’ candidates,” he said.
The war of words came after the Centre said it would make the joint drafting panel’s deliberations on the lokpal bill — contained in nine audio tapes — public. The panel comprising ministers and Team Anna members had ended work in acrimony in June-end over differences on three contentious issues — inclusion of the PM, higher judiciary and all public servants under the proposed lokpal.Govt agrees to release Lokpal panel audio clips | Anna brings video to start anti-Cong wave