BJP & CPM on activist side - Left party pledges support but wary of company

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By J.P. YADAV
  • Published 7.04.11
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New Delhi, April 6: The CPM today came out in support of Anna Hazare but, in doing so, found itself on the same page with the BJP, a party with which the Left wouldn’t want to be associated with, especially in election season.

Prakash Karat pledged support to Hazare over the Lok Pal Bill from Coimbatore, where he was campaigning for the Tamil Nadu polls on April 13. Polls in Left-ruled Kerala and Bengal also begin in over a week.

The CPM general secretary said the Centre should consult all parties, organisations and prominent persons to draft a comprehensive bill to fight corruption.

Like Karat, the BJP wants the government to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the draft of the Lok Pal Bill.

But while BJP leaders have rushed to express solidarity with the activist, the party has shied away from committing whether it favours a Lok Pal with powers as sweeping as those demanded by activists like Hazare.

“The issue is whether the government is ready to walk the talk and discuss the framework of a comprehensive Lok Pal Bill. The government should call all political parties and other groups to work out the draft. Why is it running away from a discussion?” BJP leader Prakash Javdekar said on being asked whether the party would support a bill of the kind demanded by Hazare and others supporting him.

Karat, too, spoke on similar lines and said the CPM favoured an “effective” law to deal with corruption but added the government should hold consultations before preparing the draft. He described the present draft as inadequate.

Neither the CPM nor the BJP want civil rights groups and members to walk away with the credit for fighting corruption, an issue that both parties want to use to their advantage in the elections.

The Left, in particular, wants to see corruption ride over local issues in poll-bound Bengal and Kerala where the ruling combine faces an uphill task in retaining power.

Left leaders have been wary, however, of appearing with Hazare at Jantar Mantar, where the Gandhian is on fast, after reports that Hindutva forces were backing his movement.

But CPM insiders said while they may not risk sharing dais with Hindutva forces, they don’t want to miss cashing in on the issue of corruption.

“Do you expect our leaders to say they don’t support Hazare’s demand for a strong anti-corruption law?” said a CPM leader.