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BJP hits out at PM over response to Anna's letter

August 14, 2011 - New Delhi

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday criticized Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh for disassociating himself from the conditional permission granted by the Delhi Police for veteran social activist Anna Hazare's indefinite hunger strike from August 16 over the Lokpal Bill issue.

Commenting on Dr. Singh's letter to Hazare, BJP President Nitin Gadkari said it is duty of the Prime Minister to ensure that authorities under him didn't function in undemocratic way and such a response was unfortunate.

"The reply of Prime Minister is unfortunate. It is his duty to protect the democracy in the country but he got despondent and wrote 'I don't have power to talk to concerned authorities'. If lower level officers are acting in undemocratic way it is not the duty of the Prime Minister to intervene," he told mediapersons on the sidelines of a function here.

Gadkari further said the BJP would oppose such undemocratic move by the ruling Congress Party, as it endangered democracy.

"If the Congress Party continues to behave in such a manner it poses a great threat to Indian democracy and it is unfortunate. The Bharatiya Janata Party will oppose it," he added.

In a reply to Hazare's letter, Dr. Singh said that the conditions were decided by the 'statutory authorities' taking into account the prevailing circumstances and other factors.

"I have received your letter, carrying the date 14th August, 2011 and carefully read its contents. Your grievance that the police has given you permission to protest and go on fast at JP Park only for three days needs to be addressed by the statutory authorities who have taken that decision," Dr. Singh said.

"My Office does not in any way get involved in the decision-making process. The terms and conditions on which you are entitled to carry on with your protest are decided by the statutory authorities concerned taking into account the prevailing circumstances and other relevant factors," he added.

He further requested Hazare to address his grievances to the statutory authorities concerned.

"We are all committed to the Constitution of India and to uphold it both in letter and spirit," he added.

Delhi Police has asked Hazare to submit an undertaking that the agitation would be limited to three days and that not more than 4,000-5,000 people would assemble at the Jayaprakash Narayan Park, venue of the protest.

The police also made it clear that they would not give permission for Hazare's agitation until he gave an undertaking on 22 counts.

Team Anna has termed the Delhi Police's restrictions as "unacceptable" and "unconstitutional".


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