BeyondHeadlines Special Correspondent
Patna: The arrest of Anna Hazare in Delhi had followers of late Jai Prakash reacting on different wavelengths. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chief Lalu Prasad defended the central government’s move, while Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi described it as an attack on democracy.
Stressing that the people would not tolerate suppression of freedom of expression, the chief minister demanded immediate release of Hazare.
“His arrest is an indication that people sitting at the Centre have no respect for democratic values,” Nitish said.
Sharing Nitish’s stand, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi urged people to come out on streets and wage a peaceful agitation in support of Hazare.
“Annaji has asked people and students to give eight days to the movement. I think people should join him because he is waging a struggle for a noble cause,” Modi told journalists on the sidelines of his weekly janata darbar at his official residence.
Modi also took a dig at those terming Anna’s action was against the basic tenet of democratic set-up in which Parliament happens to be the highest body for law-making.
“Something similar was said during the JP Movement when pressure was put on people’s representatives to resign. Those training guns on Anna should not forget that people’s will is supreme in a democratic set-up and putting pressure on parliamentarians for drafting a strong law is very much permissible in a democratic set-up,” said the BJP leader, demanding immediate release of Hazare.
Accusing Congress of adopting cheap tactics to attack people like Anna on frivolous grounds, Modi said the action of the Centre revived the memories of the emergency days.
In sharp contrast, Lalu backed the Centre’s move.
“Anna Hazare is at least safe. The people backing his agitation (read the BJP) are capable of doing anything to create chaos and confusion,” Lalu said, stressing that he himself was a product of the JP agitation.
Lalu stressed that Parliament was the supreme body to take decisions and its powers could not be suppressed.