Congress, BJP slugfest over Anna fast

New Delhi: Congress and BJP were on Friday engaged in a slugfest over government`s refusal of permission to Anna Hazare to go on a fast against the Lokpal Bill with the opposition party dubbing it as "undemocratic," a charge strongly refuted by the ruling party.

While the BJP said that the move "is an attempt to throttle and scuttle the voice of the people" against corruption, Congress dismissed as a "joke" suggestions that the party and the government were afraid of the Gandhian.

Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said that the party-led UPA is proud of coming up with a "very significant" Lokpal bill.

"Our commitment to deal with corruption is unequivocal, unambiguous, sincere and strong. We have laboured hard and burnt the midnight oil for the legislative framework", Singhvi said.

Noting that if Team Anna has any problems over the restrictions then they can approach a court of law, "We are not a banana republic. If they are apprehensive about misuse of the legal provision, they are welcome to approach the court".

BJP spokesman Jagat Prakash Nadda described the union cabinet-approved Lokpal Bill as a "ploy to hoodwink" the people.

"We are of the firm belief that any individual, civil society, organisation or political party, which raises its voice against corruption, has a right to do so. Congress, which is deeply involved in corruption, has no moral courage to fight corruption. They want to crush, throttle and scuttle any voice raised against corruption," he said.

Delhi Police has told team Anna that they cannot go for their proposed indefinite fast and sit-in at Jantar Mantar on August 16 and asked them to either choose a venue outside the capital or give a definite time-frame for their campaign near Parliament.