"Centre has no authority to stop Mr. Hazare from staging a sit-in"

Adding to the reservoir of condemnations against the arrest of activist Anna Hazare, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said that the move was “a rehearsal towards an Emergency-like situation in the country.”

“The Congress had stated after the 1975 Emergency that such a situation would not recur, but it is happening today. This is intolerable in a democracy,” Mr. Kumar said, adding that the UPA government had no authority to violate Mr. Hazare's civil rights and stop him from staging a sit-in.

Mr. Kumar castigated the ruling government, stating that the satraps in Delhi did not have the slightest conception of democratic values.

It only reflected “the Centre's anxiety over Mr. Hazare's anti-corruption stir….They are a shaken lot,” he said, even as demonstrations in support of Mr. Hazare sprouted in the city.

Underestimation

Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the Centre was committing a big mistake in underestimating Mr. Hazare's strength and that this prevention would boomerang on it badly.

Unlike Baba Ramdev, Mr. Hazare has a stronger team which is capable of sustaining the movement, Mr. Modi said.

Demanding that Mr. Hazare be released immediately, Mr. Modi condemned the allegations of fund diversion levelled against the activist by Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari, dubbing them “ridiculous.”

The BJP leader urged political parties to refrain from directly associating with Team Anna to avoid politicising the issue.

Mr. Hazare's movement had a better chance of succeeding as a people's movement free from the constraints of a political party, said Mr. Modi, adding that it had the approval of parties across the political spectrum.