The city’s Members of Parliament (MPs) may have stayed away from anti-corruption agitations all these days, but on Monday there was no escaping Anna Hazare’s supporters as volunteers staged demonstrations outside their houses demanding their participation in the movement.
Two MPs, Sanjay Nirupam and Priya Dutt, told volunteers they agreed with the issues Hazare has raised. However, neither promised their own support for a stronger Jan Lokpal Bill.
“The dispute is secondary and needs to be discussed. I will raise the concern because people in my constituency want it,” said Priya Dutt, MP from North Central Mumbai.
In a letter, Dutt said eradication of corruption is a major issue and is being worked on. “So much power in the hands of one authority can lead to problems. But I personally believe the prime minister and the judiciary should also be in the ambit of the bill,” she said.
Sanjay Nirupam, MP from North Mumbai, stepped out of his car with an ‘I am Anna’ Gandhi cap and told volunteers he was with them. “I will raise my voice in front of the standing committee of Parliament, but one MP can’t change the proceedings,” said Nirupam.
Eknath Gaikwad, MP from South Central Mumbai, met protestors outside Dadar station instead of his home and shrugged off the issue. “I will comment after the parliamentary decision is out,” he said.
Other MPs were either unavailable or did not bother to step out despite protesters stationing themselves outside their homes.
Around 200 volunteers gathered outside South Mumbai MP Milind Deora’s Peddar Road home, but Deora, who is also a Union minister, was not in town. “Due to work in Delhi, I couldn’t meet protesters today. I have assured them through my office that I’m committed to voicing their concerns,” Deora tweeted.
For over five hours, hundreds gathered outside North West Mumbai MP Gurudas Kamat’s Chembur residence shouting slogans, but he did not meet the crowd. “We came to ask him to support Jan Lokpal Bill when it comes to Parliament,” said advocate Santosh Deshpande.
MP Sanjay Patil from North East Mumbai, Thane MP Sanjeev Naik and Kalyan MP Anand Paranjape also did not meet protesters. Representatives of Paranjape and Patil responded to the crowd though. “We have handed a memorandum with signatures to Paranjape’s mother,” said Priyadarshini Ohol, IAC volunteer.