‘What's wrong in calling ministers liars, cheats?’
New Delhi: Rights activist Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on HRD minister Kapil Sibal, asking him what was wrong in civil society members calling ministers "liars, cheats and conspirators."
He also demanded that all political leaders should declare their assets and liabilities like the civil society members of the joint Lokpal drafting committee did and parties should declare sources of their funding and expenses for organising rallies across the country in the past five years.
Addressing protesters at the day-long fast site of Anna Hazare in Rajghat, he said Sibal has raised questions about civil society calling ministers liars and cheats.
"If we have said so, what is wrong in it? There is so much corruption, is it not cheating? If we are cheated, shouldn't we call them liars? Why shouldn't we call them conspirators?
"This government is indulging in conspiracy as we have seen in the Shanti Bhushan CD episode," he said, a day after he rebutted Sibal's statement claiming that they had never used such words.
The mention of Sibal created unrest among protesters who raised slogans against the minister. Hazare had to intervene to bring peace, saying they were protesting outside Rajghat and has to go by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.
On the question of division among civil society, Kejriwal shot back at politicians saying there were differences in Parliament and they unite only when they want a hike in their salaries.
"When did MPs in Lok Sabha were united on an issue? They are divided always. They get united only once when they want a hike in their salaries. If the civil society is divided, then Parliament is also divided," he said.
Kejriwal also demanded that political parties should make public their funding and the expense it incurred in bringing people to their rallies.
"When we raised our voices for a stronger Lokpal Bill, there were many allegations and we were asked to declare assets and we did that. Now, we are asking the political parties to declare from where they are getting donations?
"Where did you get this money from? Make public how much money they spend in the past five years for bringing people to their rallies. All parties -- Congress, BJP, SP, BSP -- all should do it. Tell us how much money was paid to people to attend your rallies," he said.
On the Lokpal Bill, he said the government wants the Prime Minister out of Lokpal purview. "They want the PM out of it and be allowed to indulge in corruption. They don't want judges or MPs under it. Should we compromise? They said they are committed to bringing this law but if you are keeping everyone out of it, then it will be a blank paper," he said.
He said the next phases of their struggle will be for electoral reforms, judicial reforms and decentralisation.
On the allegation that Hazare and Ramdev were masks of Sangh Parivar and the Lokpal movement has taken a communal turn, Kejriwal said he will be the first one to quit the panel if it turns communal.
Commenting on the police crackdown at Ramlila Maidan, he said the government unleashed atrocities on people in a merciless way, lathicharging and teargassing sleeping women and children.
"The government is giving a message that they will continue indulging in corruption and those who will protest will be crushed. They have torn and thrown out the Constitution," he said.