New Delhi: Leaders from the Hindi heartland, including Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) president Sharad Yadav and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, took a dig at members of Anna Hazare`s team for "misleading the social activist".
Speaking in the Lok Sabha during a discussion on Hazare`s demands related to the anti-graft Lokpal bill, Lalu Prasad said: "Anna is being misled by the people around him. Kiran Bediji, if you want to contest the elections, go."
Lalu Prasad said Hazare`s aide Arvind Kejriwal was trying to dictate the draft legislation to parliament. "Kejriwal is teaching us. Tell him standing committee is a mini-parliament."
Participating in the debate, Sharad Yadav said the language some of the protesters at Ramlila Maidan were using against parliamentarians was "not worth repeating", noting that this had left a deep impact on him.
Urging protesters to remain civil and choose their words carefully, he said: "Please keep your words within limits and we shall also keep ours in limits."
"The situation has become so serious that a member of parliament was forced to de-board a train by other passengers... He had to take the next train," he said, to shouts of "shame, shame" from MPs in the house.
Calling Hazare`s associates as new-found leaders, Sharad Yadav said during his public life he had led protests himself but he had not seen such leaders who had no conviction about the cause for which they were fighting.
"Most protesters are attending a carnival. They roam about watching the fun, have snacks and head to Ramlila Maidan. There are others who are permanent protesters. If they see a rally of 20 or 50, they`ll immediately join the crowd," he said.
Yadav also had a word of criticism for Hazare, accusing him of not recalling leaders such as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and B.R. Ambedkar, who too were from Maharashtra, but only mentioning Chhatrapati Shivaji, Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru.
Paswan read out an article quoting Swami Agnivesh saying the people around Hazare were misleading him and that the movement was becoming anti-minority and anti-Dalit.
"This is not an issue of corruption, we all are against corruption. This is an attack on the interest of weaker sections, we are not going to let it happen. Why are NGOs kept out of Lokpal," asked Paswan.