Union Finance Minister and senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee alleged here on Friday that the country’s democratic framework was currently being challenged by a handful of “self-appointed messiahs”, while political parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) were bent on scoring political points by evaluating it as an attack on the Congress.
Criticising the BJP, the CPI(M) and a section of civil society of incorrectly evaluating the situation, he said their “perverted thought process” had prevented them from seeing that it was an attack on the parliamentary democratic system.
Addressing a mass rally organised here by the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee, he said: “Threats are being issued by a handful of people to go on a fast-unto-death unless their demands are met on certain issues. Problems can always be solved by discussions; they cannot just draft a bill and expect the MPs to put a rubber stamp on it.”
Mr. Mukherjee further accused the section of the civil society of playing with the sentiments of the common man and posing as “self-appointed messiahs” who have no accountability to anyone.
Pointing out that the Constitution provided for MPs and MLAs to seek public opinion on a Bill before it is passed in Parliament, he said the Bill clauses could even be debated on the government website and there was no need to issue threats or go on fasts.
His jibes, however, were particularly directed against the BJP and the CPI(M) — whom he accused of falling back on religious leaders to further their political agenda after having put up a poor show in the recently concluded Assembly elections.
“Having bagged just five seats in the Assembly elections, the BJP is now frantically searching for any anna, baba, bibi and maa from distant Hardwar or Badrinath, or anywhere, to hog the limelight. Could this be the political decision of a political party that aspires to rule the country?” Mr. Mukherjee asked.
Equally caustic in his attack against the CPI(M), he quipped that though the communist movement in India had started way back in 1920, the party was yet to become an “adult”.
“After suffering losses in both West Bengal and Kerala, the CPI(M) has become listless… It sometimes holds on to Sonia Gandhi’s little finger and clutches on to BJP’s thumb at other times. It is still taking baby steps as the mass has discarded it for the several wrong decisions it took at important junctures of history.”
He alleged that the CPI(M) was supporting Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev in an attempt to wreck the Indian Constitution from within.
Mr. Mukherjee said that the Centre had already signed agreements with 34 countries for availing their bank details to track unaccounted cash stashed there by Indians.
“Black money cannot be recovered by fasts or slogans or speeches. It is a continuous process and the Centre is taking all necessary steps,” he added.” Hindu