BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: Disappointed over the “smear campaign” launched by way of a “fabricated” CD and allegations against civil society members of the 11-member Lokpal Bill Joint Drafting Committee, veteran social activist Anna Hazare has today asked Congress party President Sonia Gandhi in strong words to stop his party men from making false allegations or be ready to face the consequences if the process relating to this “historic moment” against corruption was derailed.
Without naming anyone but pointing toward Congress party General Secretary Digvijay Singh and Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, Hazare has requested Sonia Gandhi to advise her fellow party members not to make attempt to derail the process of drafting the Lokpal Bill. He asked her to “fight together” to defeat the design of corrupt forces stalling an effective anti-corruption law.
In response, the Congress party replied: “How can anyone be stopped from expressing views in a vibrant and democratic country.”
“Discourse in not a one-way affair. If required, we will respond to it in a holistic manner,” Congress Spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
“If Mr Digvijaya Singh… who is a respected leader in the social and political firmament has also articulated his views, has he committed a crime?” Tewari asked.
Singh had criticised Hazare for questioning the integrity of voters and for praising Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
In his letter sent to Sonia yesterday, Anna said: “People working for people must be subjected to public scrutiny. However, when blatantly false accusations are made, fabricated CDs are planted, then one feels that the purpose is not an honest public scrutiny but to tarnish reputations. They have not even spared me…. This has raised the reputations of civil society members in the eyes of public. The smear campaign of vested interests seems to be backfiring.”
Without naming Sibal, Hazare wrote: “After the joint committee meeting, one of the ministers addressed the press saying that the meeting was good. Subsequently, according to many friends in media, he held a private ‘informal debriefing session’ at his house and falsely accused us of having succumbed to government’s pressure within the committee and that we had diluted the law. This was a completely false statement because there were no discussions at all on the law within the committee. His ‘informal debriefing’ created confusions in the minds of the people across the country. It appears that his debriefing was meant to send a message to the public that we had been ‘influenced’. We had apprehended such mischievous conduct and that is the reason we have been demanding video recordings of the proceedings and their release immediately after each meeting.”
However, Sibal in a press statement denied the charges, maintaining that he had held no meeting with journalists. “The statement attributed to him… is patently false. No such statement was ever made by Mr Sibal,” said the press statement issued by the minister’s office.
Meanwhile, challenging the constitutional validity of civil society members in a committee to draft a bill, Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma yesterday filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court.