New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will not allow anyone to undermine parliamentary democracy but would not side with the government either in "curbing" a citizen`s right to protest, party leader Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday.
"We are with the parliamentary process. We won`t allow anybody to undermine parliamentary democracy. But civil rights are above all. The country is free. I reject your policy of curbing citizen rights," Sushma Swaraj, who is leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, said in the house.
She was speaking on the debate on the arrest of social activist Anna Hazare, who was taken into custody in the capital Tuesday ahead of his planned fast-unto-death for a more powerful anti-graft legislation.
Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said in a statement that Hazare may be inspired by high ideals in his campaign to set up a strong and effective anti-corruption watchdog but the path he had chosen "to impose his draft of a bill upon parliament is totally misconceived and fraught with grave consequences for our parliamentary democracy".
Sushma Swaraj sharply criticised the government and accused it of undermining parliamentary procedures by selecting a joint committee of government representatives and Anna Hazare`s team for drafting the Lokpal bill.
"Who undermined the parliamentary procedures first, Mr Prime Minister? When Hazare came to use for the support, we asked him why you didn`t include opposition in the drafting committee.
"He said he had insisted on opposition`s inclusion but the government refused," the leader of the opposition said.
She also spoke at length in favour of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and said Home Minister P. Chidambaram had developed a phobia of saffron parties.
"Don`t know what happens to the home minister when the RSS supports any campaign… (Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali)Geelani comes openly and talks about disintegrating India. Delhi Police didn`t feel threatened then. But when you see anybody wearing saffron robes, you unleash... force," she said.
She didn`t refer directly to Congress` charges that Hazare`s campaign was supported by the RSS and rightwing Hindu groups.
"Why do you get irritated by the RSS… The RSS gives rise to patriotic parties in the country. There are seven chief ministers in India who owe allegiance to the RSS. But I don`t know what happens to you by a mere mention of the RSS," she asked.