Pranab skirts Anna Hazare arrest issue
Burying the hatchet over the blame game within the government regarding social activist Anna Hazare's arrest, the government's chief negotiator with team Anna and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said he cannot have an opinion as long as he was in the government.
Mukherjee, in an interview to a television channel, refused to comment on whether it was a mistake to arrest Hazare and send him to Tihar jail and that the issue had been adequately addressed by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the home minister P Chidambaram.
The home minister had a similar reply when asked whether Delhi Police had goofed up by arresting Hazare on August 16. The events had been outlined in the PM's statement of August 17 and his reply to the Parliament, the home minister said.
Hazare was arrested on the morning of August 16, his first day of the fast, evoking a strong public reaction. Although his release orders were issued on the same day, Hazare refused to leave jail till permission was given to him to fast for a longer duration. He left Tihar on August 19 after Delhi Police agreed to allow him to fast at the Ramlila grounds for 15 days.
Explaining the government's due diligence on Hazare's campaign, the finance minister, who also headed the Lokpal joint drafting committee, said after detailed discussions with political parties and team Anna "a large area was covered" resulting in an agreement on future action.