I don’t endorse ‘smear campaign’: Sonia writes back to Hazare

Sonia Gandhi said, she strongly supports the institution of Lokpal that is consistent with the practices and conventions of Parliamentary democracy.

Last Updated: Apr 21, 2011, 00:51 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Replying back to anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare’s letter that appealed her to stop the “smear campaign” being run from inside Congress to “derail” the process of drafting the Lokpal Bill, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday said she did not support or encourage politics of a “smear campaign.”

Writing to Hazare, Sonia said, "As for the statements appearing in the media, let me assure you that I do not support nor encourage the politics of smear campaigns.”
Hazare had complained to Sonia Gandhi against a Congress general secretary, apparently Digvijay Singh, saying that he had been making “irresponsible statements” over the past few days. He also accused an unnamed minister, seemingly HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, who is also a member of Lokpal committee, of making “false statements” about the civil society representatives having "succumbed" to government`s pressure and "diluted" the law.

The iconic Gandhian, in his letter had, urged Congress president to join hands with him to "defeat" the corrupt.
Replying back to Hazare, Sonia said, “I strongly support the institution of a Lokpal that is consistent with the practices and conventions of our Parliamentary democracy.”

Expressing the dire necessity to combat graft and greed, the chairperson of National Advisory Council (NAC) wrote to Hazare that he should not doubt her “commitment in the fight for probity in public life".

Sonia also said that NAC`s working group on transparency, accountability and governance under the convenorship of Aruna Roy, had held consultations on this subject on April 4 with several representatives of civil society including Shanti Bhushan, Santosh Hegde and Prashant Bhushan in the joint committee. Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal were also involved, she said.

Earlier, the Congress officially backed party leader Digvijay Singh`s "right to express” views on anti-corruption campaign of civil society activists.

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal had refuted Anna Hazare’s allegations against him, saying that they were “patently false” and had no "factual basis".