The Congress Sunday dismissed as "baseless" and "politically motivated" Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat's accusation that the party was adopting double standards on the issue of bringing the prime minister under the purview of the Lokpal bill.
On Saturday, Karat said that in 2001 a parliamentary standing committee headed by Congress leader and now union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee recommended that the prime minister should be within the ambit of Lokpal.
"Prakash Karat's statement on the view of Pranab Mukherjee is baseless, vexatious and politically motivated. How can they point fingers at others when they have joined hands with a communal party like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)," asked West Bengal congress president Pradip Bhattacharjee.
He questioned why Mukherjee had changed his stance now. He also asked if the rising number of scams under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) prompted the change.
Attacking the CPI-M and the BJP for lending support to civil society members demanding a strong anti-corruption mechanism, Bhattacharjee said: "Why are the CPI-M and the BJP raising the bogey of Lokpal at a time when the self-styled civil society activists are making futile attempts to overpower parliament and the legislature."
"Let there be a debate as to whether any person or institution can be placed at the top of our parliamentary system overriding the constitutional method and judicial mandate," said Bhattacharjee.
He also queried as to why the CPI-M did not make any concrete move for passing the Lokpal bill in 1996 and 2001 when "friendly" central governments were in power.
Mukherjee earlier accused the CPI-M of attacking the constitution by supporting social activist Anna Hazare and yoga guru Baba Ramdev, who were "challenging democracy" in the name of fighting corruption.
Hazare, with support from the civil society, has been demanding a stringent anti-corruption mechanism. His fasts earlier this year have made the government take notice of his demands. Following the path of Hazare, Ramdev also went on a fast against corruption.