Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hazare arrest avoidable, say Cong members

Party sources feel govt mishandled the situation

New Delhi: There are two distinct opinions among Congress party members about the government's handling of the Anna Hazare arrest on Tuesday.

The first was that there was no need to have arrested Anna Hazare and pack him off to prison. The second was that it was not necessary for prime minister Manmohan Singh and home minister P.Chidambaram to come in the line of fire for what was essentially a police decision at the ground level. There is then a degree of disapproval of the government in the party circles.

Said a former minister Narasimha Rao's cabinet and a senior leader, “Why did the prime minister have to make a statement for what the police have done? It was not at all necessary.”

Said another senior party MP: “It was not necessary to arrest Anna Hazare, and it was not necessary to send him to Tihar.”

There is a strong feeling in the party that the Congress leaders in government are

It is not surprising that there are dissident views in the Congress. But the party thrives on carping exchanges which are based on factionalism and personal animus. The fact that it is seen as a family firm where all crticism is frowned upon is a myth. The factionalism and personal rivalries are the stuff of intra-party politics of the Congress.

Asked whether the absence of party president Sonia Gandhi for health reasons was making the situation much more uncertain, the party MP on condition of anonymity said, “It is not true.”

The party members hope that the government will undertake some positive programmes in the remaining three years in office, which would counter the many corruption cases that is sinking the party's fortunes at the moment. Congressmen generally retain their optimism till the last and hope to survive the Anna Hazare storm.

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