Rising to the occasion, Parliament today witnessed an elevated level of debate which led to a broad consensus on three sticky issues and resulted in Anna Hazare agreeing to break his 12-day fast.
After more than eight-hour long debates, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha reached a collective "sense" and agreed to the contentious demands of the civil society, including bringing lower bureaucracy in the Lokpal purview, lokayuktas in the states and citizens' charter. Complimenting the wide political spectrum, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in the Upper House, "I congratulate you for raising the level of debate.. it is a healthy sign that members did not level charges at each other."
He expressed a similar sentiment in the Lok Sabha. Leaders of Opposition in the two Houses - Sushma Swaraj in the Lok Sabha and Arun Jaitley in the Rajya Sabha - spoke in the same tone. Participating in the debate, Jaitley said, "Today, really, the maturity of all of us and our democracy is on trial." Government and most of the political parties praised the 74-year-old Hazare.
Mukherjee described him as a "Gandhian and idealist with massive support". While some of the parties like RJD and JD-U questioned the people close to Hazare, they all heaped praise on their leader. Mukherjee, the UPA's trouble-shooter and the BJP leaders emphasised that it would not be fair to project Parliament in confrontation with the civil society.