Dubbing Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev and their followers as “handful of self appointed messiahs”, union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee lambasted the group stating that parliamentary democracy is being challenged by them. According to him, they have no accountability to anyone and are igniting sentiments through hunger strikes.
Mukherjee was speaking at the first post-election victory rally of state Congress in Kolkata. Union law minister M Veerappa Moily and AICC in charge of Bengal Shakeel Ahmed were also present.
“Some people, a handful of people are challenging democracy. They are talking about fast unto death. Discussion and dialogue is possible, but this does not mean that parliament will not make laws. Will they make laws?” said Mukherjee.
“Some self-appointed messiahs will make laws. They do not have any accountability to anyone. They are igniting sentiments. This has no place in democracy,” said Mukherjee.
He stated that some political parties are also hand in gloves with such people. “When Anna Hazare is sitting on fast, the communists are supporting them, the BJP is supporting them. They think this is a way to attack Congress. But they fail to realise that this is an attack on parliamentary democracy,” said Mukherjee.
Mukherjee stated that the Constitution has made it clear what the Parliament will do and what state legislative assemblies will do. He stated that there is provision of seeking public opinion on any bill, if MLAs and MP’s want.
“We regularly post bills on website and seek public opinion. But fasting is not the way,” he said. Mukherjee stated that the group is taking advantage of certain inadequacies and deficiencies.
Mukherjee said that progress is being made at recovering black money from foreign banks, but there is a procedure. “This is not only our problem, but also of countries like US and France. Together we created pressure. Now we have treaties with countries like Switzerland. Now we are getting the information. This is not achieved by giving slogans or speeches,” he said.
Mukherjee claimed that such move was not taken previously because the countries or their banks were not ready to share information. “Now they have agreed and now we are doing it,” he said.
Mukherjee took on both BJP and CPI-M over the issue. He stated that BJP wants to come to power through the different babas.
M Veerappa Moily too stated that the government held nine meetings, each lasting for three to four hours long with Anna Hazare. “We want to get a strong lokpal bill, which is pending for 46 years. But we have to protect our constitution, even if somebody somewhere is making noise,” said Moily.
He said Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi has given the clarion call against corruption and has made lokpal the top most priority.
State Congress leaders present during the rally stated that a state wide campaign will be undertaken to make people understand the seriousness of the UPA government to weed out corruption.