New Delhi: In yet another indication of the
growing discomfort in sections of Congress with the handling
of the Anna Hazare crisis, a senior party leader on Monday said
government underestimated the Gandhian`s movement against
corruption and asked it to enter into dialogue with him.
"Anna`s movement against corruption was underestimated by
by government. It is time that it entered into dialogue with
him to end his fast," Anil Shastri, who is a Special Invitee
to Congress Working Committee, said on twitter.
Shastri, former editor of party mouthpiece Congress
Sandesh, now heads the newly-created Hindi Vibhag of AICC.
During the last few days of his tenure as editor of
Congress Sandesh, his remarks in an editorial in the journal
criticising the government`s step of sending three ministers
to receive Yoga Guru Ramdev had stoked a controversy and the
party had officially distanced itself from his remarks.
In yet another tweet, Shastri without naming Union
Minister Virbhadra Singh, described his remark that even a
`madari` (conjurer) could gather crowds as "in bad taste".
In his tweet, Shastri said, "A senior Union minister says
even a `madari` could gather crowds. This is in bad taste.
Anna`s crowd is a movement against corruption."
In a veiled attack on anti-graft agitation led by Anna
Hazare, Singh had said a few days back that people should not
be carried away by the size of crowd in the country of one
billion as even a "madari" draws good crowd.
Asked about his tweets, Shastri said that many party MPs
are feeling uncomfortable due to the police action against
Hazare. He cited the example of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila
Dikshit`s son and MP Sandip Dikshit, who categorically said
the decision to arrest Anna Hazare was wrong.
Shastri`s remarks have come at a time when a Congress MP
has submitted a copy of Jan Lokpal Bill for consideration
before the Standing Committee headed by Abhishek Singhvi,
which is examining the Lokpal Bill.
Some key ministers, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and some
MPs today faced protests on the issue of the Lokpal Bill as
people gathered in front of their houses here following a call
by Anna Hazare.
People protested in front of the residences of Finance
Minister Pranab Mukherjee, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Dikshit
and some MPs.
The first to face the ire of people was Sibal. Around 40
protesters staged a protest outside his Teen Murti residence
seeking his support for the Jan Lokpal Bill.
Meanwhile, Singhvi has described the submission of a copy
of Jan Lokpal Bill by the Bareilly MP Praveen Singh Aron as
"another input" adding that the Standing Committee is open to
all kinds of opinions.
In another tweet, Shastri dismissed senior BJP leader LK
Advani`s demand for resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh, saying it was "not a solution to the menace of
At the same time, he demanded that the Government should
give its nod to CBI for prosecution of officials in various
departments involved in corruption cases noting that the
approval for their prosecution is "awaited for months."
Shastri also said the issue is not Anna Hazare but the
"menace of corruption that has come up to neck" and added that
the fast by Hazare is getting such support because "people are
fed up with corruption".