NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh faced a black flag protest by Anna Hazare supporters on Sunday morning when he was coming out of the Golden Temple in Amritsar after offering prayers. Around 40 people waved black flags at Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur when they were coming out of the temple around 6.30 am . The protesters also shouted slogans against corruption and in favour of Lokpal.
BJP Deserves Black Flags: Congress
Reacting to the black flag incident in Amritsar, the Congress said that Team Anna supporters should have shown black flags at BJP leaders who were responsible for not passing the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
Party spokesperson Rashid Alvi said the Congress and its allies got the Bill passed in the Lok Sabha where they have a majority and in the Rajya Sabha, it was hoping that the BJP, which was championing the cause of the Lokpal, would support it but the Opposition party did not do so. “So, they deserve to be shown black flags. It is our party’s commitment to get the (Lokpal) Bill passed in the Budget Session,” he said.
Team Anna Defends Protest
Team Anna members said the protest was an expression of the people’s desire for a strong Lokpal. “I don’t think it was done at the behest of Team Anna but it is a reflection of what people feel and think. I guess this is the result of people’s mood as they want a stringent anti-corruption law,” said Team Anna member Shazia Ilmi.
Former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde said the protest in Amritsar did not have the blessings of Anna Hazare. Hegde, a member of Team Anna and the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill, said the Prime Minister of a country should not be treated that way. Team Anna member Kiran Bedi said “showing black flags is within the law and is therefore a legitimate protest.”
Bedi had joined volunteers and members of India Against Corruption at a prayer meeting at Rajghat in New Delhi on Sunday. The meeting was held to pray for Anna’s speedy recovery from a chest infection.
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said the party would launch a week-long campaign across the country to expose the ruling party.
“There was no conviction by the UPA in the Rajya Sabha for passing a strong Lokpal Bill and that is why people are disappointed. The BJP will launch the ‘Loktantra Bachao Congress hatao’ (save democracy, remove Congress) campaign at district level from January 3 to 10,” she said adding the party will tell the people about how the Bill was mocked and not passed.