Parliamentarians on Thursday expressed discomfort over supporters of Anna Hazare holding demonstrations outside the houses of ministers and MPs.
MPs cutting across party lines slammed the phenomenon, arguing that it impinged upon their freedom to carry out their duties.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Lok Sabha, Congress member MI Shanavas said Hazare's call to his supporters to conduct gheraos and protest outside the houses of ministers and MPs amounted to an "open challenge". He said it was also a complete rejection of basic values of freedom entitled to all citizens. "It is disturbing to view such sit-ins and gheraos being attempted at several places, aiming to bring the whole political executive to ransom," Shanavas said.
"This scenario would have grave ramifications as miscreants, criminals and even terrorists might exploit the situation by posing as protesters," he said. He asked the government to take steps to defuse the situation. Several MPs agreed with Shanavas and raised concerns over the mode of protest adopted by Hazare's supporters.
PM meets opposition
In Rajya Sabha, top opposition leaders asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to set up a committee to frame a new draft of the Lokpal bill.
Leader of opposition Arun Jaitley and CPM's Sitaram Yechury, in an informal discussion, told the PM that a committee comprising members of opposition parties, civil societies and retired bureaucrats can be formed to look into the various versions of the Lokpal bill and pen a new draft.
The Prime Minister held the meeting some minutes after the Rajya Sabha was adjourned. SS Ahluwalia (BJP), D Raja (CPI), Tariq Anwar (NCP) and Ramvilas Paswan (LJP) were also present.
One of the suggestions forwarded by the leaders was to form an all-party group to invite Hazare and discuss the issue. When the PM asked them to suggest ways to break the logjam, the leaders said they were not entirely in agreement with the Jan Lokpal bill.
But Singh hinted that the government is not keen on forming another committee as the bill is already lying before a Parliamentary Standing Committee.