Congress launches campaign against Hazare, Ramdev | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Congress launches campaign against Hazare, Ramdev

kolkata Updated: Jun 12, 2011 18:32 IST

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The Congress on Sunday launched a campaign to counter the anti-graft movement by Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev and accused a section of civil society of trying to weaken democratic institutions.

"The Constitution has given the power to legislate only to Parliament and the state Assemblies. If 5,000 or 6,000 people dictate from outside what the Parliament ought to do, this will weaken democracy," finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told a press conference.

Mukherjee, who released a document in English containing his party's views on the issue, said the Congress was launching an awareness campaign all over the country.

"The documents will be made available in other languages. Debates, discussions and seminars would be organised right from the district to the block levels to put forth our views," he said.

Referring to Hazare's deadline of August 15 for passing the lokpal bill, Mukherjee said the Centre had suggested that the lokpal bill would be placed during the monsoon session of the Parliament.

It was not possible, however, to give a timeframe by when the bill would be passed, he said.

Mukherjee also ruled out acceding to Hazare's demand for videography of the drafting process of the Lokpal Bill, saying this cannot be done in view of the fact that the drafting committee members will express their views "freely".

Their views, however, would be available on audio recording, he said.

"Every word is audio-taped. When required, those may be published together," he said.

He said that the audio-recording of every meeting of the drafting committee was available on the website of the Department of Personnel and "if people are interested, those can be heard from the websites".

Asked why the government had earlier held talks with Hazare and Ramdev, he said, "We gave them a chance, because if you do not talk to them, you will be accused of arrogance. Now that you have talked, it is said that you are weak."

To a question whether the situation now was similar to the situation that prompted the Centre to impose Emergency in the Seventies, he said, "It is not exactly the same, but there are some similarities ... But I can assure that there will be no repetition of Emergency."