Team Anna v/s tainted MPs
Comments by Team Anna members labeling MPs as criminals guilty of crimes like murder and rape sparked a row in the Parliament on Monday, with political parties condemning the remarks and some leaders suggesting that Lok Sabha pass a resolution condemning the allegations. Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal’s comments about criminals sitting in Parliament caused a furore. The demand at Sunday’s rally for FIRs to be registered against 14 Union ministers and taunts that MPs could never legislate a Lokpal law to check corruption united Parliamentarians on Monday, with lawmakers lashing out at the activists. Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj set the tone saying that Team Anna must not lose sight of maintaining decorum while pressing its demands. JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav said the chair could move a resolution censuring the activists for levelling unsubstantiated charges. Yadav asked the chair to consider a resolution condemning the “uncivil” language used against MPs during Anna Hazare’s day-long fast on Sunday. “We stood up to speak for Hazare, but this language is not acceptable,” the JD(U) leader said. Swaraj argued intemperate attacks were harming institutions and this could be read as an attempt to encourage or back dictatorship. While no MP has as yet sought to move a notice against Team Anna members, privilege committee chair P C Chacko said that remarks made at Sunday’s rally “were a fit case of privilege.” Faced with backlash from the political community Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal remained defiant, saying that the Parliament faced a crisis of credibility with 162 sitting MPs facing criminal charges. Kejriwal, who has two privilege notices against him, sought to shift the blame on the elected representatives. He argued that it “tainted’’ ministers and elected representatives with dubious antecedents had insulted the Parliament and not activists. “We are willing to be punished if we have insulted Parliament. However, nation and Parliament’s respect will increase not by punishing me, but by bringing in clean candidates,’’ he said.