Agnivesh to Sonia: Rein in Digvijay

Ranchi: Social activist Swami Agnivesh on Thursday claimed if Congress president Sonia Gandhi did not ask her party general secretary Digvijay Singh to stop statements “contrary” to her commitment against corruption, her party’s image would be affected.

“We take as genuine the Congress president’s reply to Anna Hazare’s letter. But she should take action if Digvijay Singh speaks just the opposite to what she said in her reply,” Mr. Agnivesh told newsmen here.

Ms. Gandhi had on Wednesday assured Mr. Hazare that she did not support smear campaigns and reiterated her commitment to fighting corruption.

Mr. Hazare had written a two-page letter to the Congress chief complaining against an unnamed minister, who is part of the 10-member joint drafting committee of the Lok Pal bill and a party general secretary, believed to be Digvijay Singh who has been attacking his campaign.

“But if she does not rein in Digvijay Singh’s statements, it will look like ‘run with the hare and hunt with the hound’.

This will spoil the image of the party and will be a big loss to it,” Mr. Agnivesh said on Thursday.

Mr. Singh (Digvijay) had been frequently making remarks against civil society representatives led by Mr. Hazare, who is leading a campaign for a tough anti-graft law, and questioned their credentials.

The senior Congress leader had criticised the inclusion of father-son lawyer duo of Shanti and Prashant Bhushan in the joint drafting committee, saying Mr. Hazare should have been careful in choosing the right people as court had issued notices against them for alleged undervaluing of their property and evasion of stamp duty.

Mr. Singh had also disapproved of Mr. Hazare’s threat to go on protest if Parliament does not pass the Lokpal Bill by August 15 and his praise for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi saying that the veteran Gandhian should be careful of what he was speaking.

Mr. Agnivesh on Thursday visited the demolition sites in Ranchi following the anti-encroachment drive taken up by the district administration in the wake of High Court’s order to implement its earlier orders passed in 2003 and 2006 against encroachment.

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