Members of Parliament expressed their frustration and anger at being tarred as corrupt by the popular movement led by Anna Hazare.
Leading the attack, senior leader of the Janata Dal (United) party, Sharad Yadav urged the protesters to remain civil and choose their words carefully.
“Please keep your words within limits and we shall also keep ours in limits,” he said.
Yadav criticized popular actor Om Puri for urging voters to keep the bribes and inducements given by political parties, but to vote only for those they are convinced are honest. “He said, keep the bottle, keep the cash, but don’t give your vote,” Yadav pointed out.
Yadav said he did not want to repeat the kind of language that is being used against the Parliament by some of the protesters. “Remember, an injury from goli (a bullet) heals over time, but an injury from boli (speech) does not,” he said.
“The situation has become so serious that one of our esteemed [Lok Sabha] members was thrown out of a train by ordinary people.. like Gandhiji was.. He had to catch another train,” he said, to chorus of ‘shame, shame!’
Yadav wondered why the protesters were against the Parliament when it was the same institution which showed its “generosity” by urging Anna Hazare to break his fast.
Yadav was prompted by other members of the Lok Sabha to continue when he was about to wind up his speech and raised the pitch of the attack on the protesters afterwards.
He mocked the protesters and their new-found leaders, saying that many were involved without any serious conviction.
“On one side there is a Baba, another there is Sri-Sri 108 (times).. There is someone who looks like a hero (Bhaiyyu Maharaj),” he said, to roars of laughter around the house.
“People seemed to have decided, we have roamed around, had our gol-gappe (a sweet), let’s now head over to Ramlila Maidan… There are others who are permanent protesters. If they see a rally of 20 or 50 people, they’ll immediately join them,” he mocked.
Yadav, who sees himself as a representative of the backward castes, also accused Hazare of forgetting ‘backward’ leaders such as Mahatma Jotiba Phule, BR Ambedkar etc. who were also from Maharashtra and mentioning only Sivaji, Gandhiji, Rajguru, Bhagat Singh etc..
In the end, Yadav reiterated his Party’s support on all three issues demanded by the Anna Hazare group — on covering all bureaucrats within the Lokpal, citizen’s charter and state-units.
Separately, there was criticism of the media with the DMK MP TKS Elangovan blaming the media for first making the Lokpal agitation a fight against the government and later making it a fight with the Parliament. “Now, the media has turned it into a fight against the Constitution,” he said.
Elangovan also opposed the inclusion of lower bureaucracy within the scope of the Lokpal. Explaining DMK’s stand, he also rejected Anna Hazare’s demand that the bill should not be sent to the standing committee (so as to ease the passing of the bill.)