“Insult to democracy;” Hazare reaction “completely wrong”
A day after Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was assaulted at a public function here, Parliament on Friday strongly condemned the attack with one voice, disapproving of the “violent and undemocratic means” to express disagreement.
As soon as the Lok Sabha assembled, Speaker Meira Kumar said the House strongly condemned the unfortunate incident. It “expresses its unequivocal disapproval of taking recourse to violent and undemocratic means to express disagreement,” she said.
In the Rajya Sabha, Chairman Hamid Ansari said, “I am sure the whole House will join me in condemning the assault on Mr. Pawar.” The members agreed with his views.
Pawar not present
Though Mr. Pawar was not present in the Lok Sabha, his daughter and MP Supriya Sule listened to the discussion in rapt attention.
In the Lower House, several members blamed the electronic media for sensationalism and criticised social activist Anna Hazare for the way he reacted to the attack on Mr. Pawar.
“People may express divergent views on any issue but the attempt to cause physical harm should be condemned by the entire House in the strongest terms,” said Finance Minister and Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee. He described Mr. Pawar as a senior politician and parliamentarian of long standing.
Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said no amount of words were sufficient to condemn the attack on Mr. Pawar, who was always “nice and decent.”
Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav criticised the electronic media for “showing one slap as 50 slaps by constantly focussing on such incidents and glorifying them.”
He regretted that an attempt was being made to malign the entire political class though several leaders had spent decades in selfless service. “This atmosphere needs to be changed.”
Mr. Yadav said Indian democracy was passing through a difficult phase. “Lumpen elements” were ruling the roost as the political class and democratic institutions were being demeaned.
If institutions like Parliament were destroyed, then the entire Indian democracy would be in peril. All institutions should observe decency and decorum and not cross the “Lakshman rekha,” Mr. Yadav said.Taking on Mr. Hazare, Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta said the way he reacted to the attack on Mr. Pawar was completely wrong. If the attacker was protesting price rise and corruption in this manner, he was “actually weakening the protest on these issues,” the CPI leader said, adding “individual vandalism” was most heinous.
CPI(Marxist) leader Basudeb Acharia said while people had the right to protest government policies, it should not be done “this way.” The incident was “an insult to democracy.”
Several members, including Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (RJD), Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) and Reoti Raman Singh (SP), wanted a probe into how the attacker was allowed to go scot-free after he was involved in a similar incident last week.
All members, including the former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda (JD-S), and Anant Geete (Shiv Sena), demanded stern action against the attacker.