NCP, a component of UPA, on Saturday said the Government has committed a “mistake” by accepting anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare’s demands.
“Corruption is undoubtedly a burning issue facing the country... but I differ with Anna Hazare as the way adopted by the Gandhian leader has not been the right way,” NCP General Secretary Tariq Anwar said.
“The way Anna Hazare got his demand conceded I want to be clear is not correct... and the government has committed a mistake by accepting his demands,” he added.
NCP chief and Union Minister Sharad Pawar had resigned from the Group of Ministers on corruption after Mr. Hazare had launched the fast at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
The Centre, Mr. Anwar said, has taken steps at all levels to weed out corruption and talks should have been held with it.
“Every citizen of the country has the democratic right to exert pressure on the Centre for conceding one’s demand... But not the kind of pressure Hazare thrust upon the Centre.”
He said “there was a constitution and law in the country... There are several other methods through which corruption can be fought effectively” and if such kind of pressure was allowed to continue, people would take to immolation if their respective demands are not met.
Mr. Hazare, Mr. Anwar alleged, has sent a message to the world through his movement that there is rampant corruption in India, “though the picture is different. The country is marching ahead and has emerged as the second largest country in the world after China in economic uplift.”
“We all want that the Lokpal Bill should be introduced and passed... It should infact have come much before,” he said adding the JP movement (headed by freedom fighter Jayaprakash Narayan) in the 1970s was also against corruption.
The movement had led to the installation of a Janata Party government but no Lokpal Bill was brought or framed at that time. Several other coalition governments came to power after the JP movement but none of them had succeeded in introducing or getting the Lokpal Bill passed, Mr. Anwar said.
Don’t compare Hazare with Gandhi
Mr. Hazare should not be compared with Mahatma Gandhi who had never fought for inclusion of his name in a committee.
Mr. Hazare, on the other hand, was ‘restless’ to become the chairman of the drafting committee the gazette notification for which was issued by the Centre this morning, he added.
Corruption in Bihar
Referring to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s support to Mr. Hazare on the anti-corruption issue, Mr. Anwar said it was ’eyewash and ridiculous.’
“The reason behind my comment is that the latest CAG report highlighting embezzlement, misappropriation, theft and loss of Rs 407.97 crore in Bihar tells a different story,” he told newsmen here.
The CAG report was a subject of major cause of concern and only a CBI inquiry would unravel the mystery behind the irregularities and fix responsibilities, he said.
“It is unfortunate that the state government has not taken any step in favour of the inquiry,” he said and alleged it had proved beyond doubt that Mr. Kumar was using the issue of corruption as a ‘political mask’ and there were “apparent contradictions in what he says and how he acts.”
The CAG had alleged corruption in execution of central schemes worth over Rs 11,500 crore and held the state government guilty of non-submission of detailed contingent bills against the abstract contingent bills through which Rs 11,854 crore had been drawn by the drawing and disbursing officers in Bihar upto July 2010.
“It is now a proven fact that the NDA government in Bihar is just doing politics over corruption and is not at all interested to weed out corruption. Otherwise, it should have acted against the guilty officials ... It is also now a fact that the state government is overlooking the CAG report and want to protect and patronise corruption,” Mr. Anwar charged.
He also alleged financial indiscipline, irregularities and mismanagement in the state and said the matter had also been raised by the CAG.