The Congress has attacked the BJP for meeting with Civil Society activists such as Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal, while refusing to come out clearly on its own stand on the suggestions by the campaigners.
Abhishek Singhvi, congress spokesperson pointed out that the BJP has not come out with any clear stand, taking different excuses at different times.
“They don’t have any stand on our bill.. They don’t have any stand on the Civil Society bill.. They don’t have any stand on whether the PM should be under the Lokpal’s ambit or whether the senior Judges should be under the law,” Singhvi said.
He pointed out that when the BJP was called recently for the all party meeting, Nitin Gadkari, the BJP President, had pointed out that the government remembered BJP only after its own talks with the campaigners led by Anna Hazare broke down.
“He said we will not be part of suggestion makers,” Singhvi said, adding that the BJP had wanted to give suggestions to the “decision makers”. In other words, Singhvi pointed out, BJP saw no legitimacy in the social movement led by Anna Hazare.
“If that is your stand, you should not have met the Civil Society activists today,” Singhvi said, calling the move opportunistic and aimed at bringing down the current Congress government.
“Their only aim is to regain political power through the backdoor by undemocratic rejection by the people,” he pointed out.
Singhvi’s commments are seen as a reflection of the Congress Party’s frustration at the seriousness with which the opposition parties have treated the current lobbying by civil society activists.
While the Congress is playing coy by sometimes confirming and then denying that its president is going to meet the activists as well, it has been dismayed by the ‘red carpet’ reception given by its counterparts in the opposition benches.
The Congress would have prefered a purely “political” consensus on the Lokpal bill, without taking the civil society too seriously now. Its leaders have variously expressed regret at having “given in” to the intial demands of the popular protests to set up a joint drafting committee.
Later, when it saw that the activists were intractable in their demands, it tried to reach across to the opposition parties such as BJP announcing that a final call on important aspects will be taken in a joint meeting of all parties.
The BJP, by hosting Anna Hazare and Co and sharing the stage with him in front of the media, is seen as having essentially turned down the hand of “partnership” extended by Congress to counter the civil society, leading to today’s reaction.