Human resources development minister Kapil Sibal has criticised civil society representatives, led by social activist Anna Hazare, of trying to undermine the role of the elected government in the drafting of the lokpal bill and of attempting to gain control of the country.
While speaking to Congress party workers at the launch of the Jan Jagaran Abhiyaan (‘Awakening of the people’) on Thursday, Sibal said, “We will not allow five to 11 members of the Lokpal to run this country – this will neither be acceptable to the government nor to the countrymen. They [the civil society members] make it sound as if these 11 members will ascend from heaven. It is a good dream but the country cannot be run on dreams.”
The Jan Jagaran Abhiyaan was launched by the Mumbai Congress in preparation for the 2012 civic polls.
Sibal also accused civil society members of trying to subjugate the constitution. “They want to bring the judiciary under the Lokpal’s purview. This will only deter judges from acting fairly and will instill fear in them,” said Sibal.
Civil society members condemned Sibal, accusing him of trying to mislead people. “Our only intention is to have a strong Lokpal bill to deter corrupt practices, which has reached unprecedented levels,” said Mayank Gandhi, Mumbai coordinator, India against Corruption.
Sibal also expressed displeasure over the manner in which television news channels were highlighting the news of union minister Dayanidhi Maran’s resignation. He said TV channels destroyed the hard-earned reputation of accomplished individuals. “TV channels think they run the country. I request the government to make them accountable,” said Sibal. Television channels boycotted the Jan Jagaran Abhiyaan after Congress cadres allegedly heckled crewmembers.