“Sit-in before residences not the way to go about it”

With Team Anna urging people to stage a sit-in in front of the residences of Members of Parliament, forcing them to support the Jan Lokpal Bill, several Congress MPs said they did not approve of the method.

They said that Team Anna and its supporters could instead seek to build opinion among MPs by reaching out to them with their version and convince them on the basis of debate and discussion.

“Why don't they send two or three people to convince me why their Bill is good and seek my vote? I personally feel there are one or two points on which the Government should relent and one or two points, civil society should relent on…[but] by picketing you cannot force me to vote,'' East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit told The Hindu.

Praveen Singh Aron said while he favoured a strong and stringent Lokpal Bill, the question was not about the will to fight corruption but the process to reach the destination.

Mr. Aron, who last week submitted a copy of the Jan Lokpal Bill to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for its consideration, felt that while MPs were used to agitations and protests, it should not be forgotten that they too were victims of a corrupt system.

Pratap Singh Bajwa, who represents Gurdaspur (Punjab), expressed surprise that picketing calls were being given by a Gandhian. He apprehended that tactics to pressure MPs could get out of hand since a large majority of those involved were young people.

With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh talking of give and take, there was little room for resorting to such ‘extra-constitutional methods' in tackling a serious issue, he said.

Virudhunagar MP Manick Tagore said he would see how many people responded to the call. He said as elected representatives of the people, MPs always listened to what their constituents had to say on any issue but was not sure of this method.

V. Hanumantha Rao, who represents Andhra Pradesh in the Rajya Sabha, said Team Anna was not the sole representative of civil society. It was only fair that other sections of civil society were heard. “Ideas are welcome but please wait to see how the Bill moves in Parliament and if does not move in the direction you [Team Anna] intend then you can resort to protest,'' he said.

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