Team Anna, govt begin to land low blows
Bedi likens Manmohan to Dhritrashtra
The ongoing war of words between Team Anna and the government reached a new low on Sunday with one of the team members comparing the prime minister to the blind king in Mahabharata and a Union minister questioning the integrity of Anna Hazare’s followers.
Launching a scathing attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a key member of Team Anna, Kiran Bedi, on Sunday sought to compare him to Dhritrashtra in the context of the alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks. Singh had rejected Hazare’s demand for setting up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe into the charges levelled against the Prime Minister and 14 of his cabinet ministers.
“The PMO clears Prime Minister. Did Dhritarashtra in Mahabharata not support Kauravas even after they attempted to disrobe Draupadi? Indian genes/culture? or?” Bedi tweeted.
She described Singh and his 14 cabinet colleagues as a “tainted team”, asserting that they would “never” give people an expeditious and strong criminal justice system.
“Do or die fast from July 25 for SIT probe on PM and 14 cabinet ministers. Tainted team may never give us an expeditious and strong criminal justice system,” she said.
Sharply reacting to Bedi’s comment, Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid accused Team Anna of converting their anti-corruption movement into a “personal campaign”.
“They (Team Anna) have many, many questions they must first answer before asking questions to others,” Khurshid told reporters at Chennai airport, taking several questions from the media, shortly after arriving here.
“We are at least subject to public scrutiny. Every five years, we go through an election. People reject or accept our record and everything is available. We’re ready for any public scrutiny,” Khurshid maintained.
Khurshid said: “I don't think they have the right to ask questions and I don't think they are being very helpful and very good to democracy in our country." Khurshid, who is also in charge of the Law Ministry, said that “the people will give them a suitable answer when the time comes”.
“We all felt they started off with a good note. Idea of containing corruption and questioning corruption was a good idea. But today, they are doing greatest disservice to this idea by converting it into a personal campaign and personal ambition,” the minister said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also demanded a probe into the allegations made against the Cabinet ministers in the alleged coal scam.
“Nobody suspects Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. But the way in which his government is drowned in corruption and scams, it is natural that the taint reaches him also. This war of words between the civil society and government should end. The government should order an investigation,” BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.