New Delhi: Digvijay Singh, in the thick
of a controversy over remarks on the Bhushans and Justice Santosh Hegde, Friday said the Congress and the government were in no way connected with the alleged smear campaign against civil society representatives and would not hamper the work of
the joint committee to draft the Lokpal Bill.
Unfazed by criticism that he was targetting Anna
Hazare and his colleagues, Singh said he was only voicing the
party line as a disciplined soldier and there is no party gag
The Congress general secretary, who has raised
questions over Shanti Bhushan and his son getting prized land
in Noida and alleged evasion of stamp duty in Allahabad, said
he had no objection to their continuance in the committee but
left it to their conscience whether they should remain in it.
He also made it clear that he had at no time attacked
Justice Hegde, a member of the joint committee, but had only
raised a question that if the best Lokayukta in Karnataka
cannot stop "rampant corruption" in the state then a serious
thought should be given to the system.
"As far as Congress and government of India is
concerned, we are absolutely clear that we would not hamper
the proceedings of the drafting committee and the want to
complete the task so that the bill is presented in the monsoon
session of Parliament," Singh said.
He dismissed suggestions that the party and some of
its leaders were behind the attacks on the civil society
members because the government had to `buckle` to the fast by
"If the government has buckled, it has buckled. There
were two options -- either engage in negotiations or forcefeed
Anna Hazare. We opted for the first option because we are
sensitive to people`s sentiments in a democracy," he said.
Singh said it was not the Congress party or its
leaders who raked up issues. "The first salvo was fired by
Baba Ramdeo and not by Congress...There is no problem with the
father and son remaining in the committee. It is their
decision if they want to continue. The question is to their
Singh said it was the Uttar Pradesh government which
had given notice to the Bhushans for alleged undervaluation of
the property and payment of low stamp duty in Allahabad. Again
it was the media, which brought out the land allotment to
Bhushan and his son.
"I am amused they are worried about the timing of the
revelations and not the illegality of the allotment... UP
government issues a notice to Bhushans in February 2011 and
you see the hand of Congress party behind it," he said
referring to the reactions from Bhushans and civil society