Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal today struck a defiant note replying to privilege notices for “insulting” Parliament,asking how can he respect the House which has 162 MPs with criminal background.
Denying allegations by four MPs who moved privilege notices against him that he insulted the House,Kejriwal said he respects Parliament but noted that it is being insulted by those sitting inside Parliament and not those outside.
He alleged all parties were responsible for bringing Parliament to disrepute as 162 MPs with criminal cases against them — 14 facing murder cases,20 attempt to murder cases and 13 for kidnapping — have managed to get into it.
Kejriwal said there are some people (among MPs) that one cannot invite them to a wedding or a function at your house. Is it not an insult these people sit in Parliament,he asked.
In a four page reply to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Secretariats,he said,”There was one Parliament in which Lal Bahadur Shastri (as Rail Minister) resigned after a train accident. I would like to sacrifice anything for such a Parliament but how will I respect Parliament of present times.
“…Like Parliament,Assemblies are also sacred temples of democracy. If some MLAs and Women and Child Development Minister watch porn openly in Assembly,you tell me,how can I respect those MLAs,” he said.
Touching upon alleged horse-trading during trust vote in 2008 when UPA-I was in power,he alleged,”MPs were bought openly. People witnessed the spectacle of MPs being bought in this sacred temple of democracy…Was it less than treason? How will I respect this Parliament,” he said.
Defending himself,Kejriwal said,he has not done anything wrong and he had only raised the issues of people.
“If I am guilty in the eyes of your law,punish me according to those laws. I am ready to face that punishment. If you are going to punish according to your laws,my appeal to you is that,give me an opportunity to appear before you personally and present my version,” he said.
Privilege notices were moved by Rajya Sabha members Ramkripal Yadav and Rajneeti Prasad (both RJD) and Lok Sabha MP Sajjan Kumar Verma (Congress) following Kejriwal’s March 25 speech at Jantar Mantar during which he raised the issue of 162 people with criminal cases being MPs.
In his reply,Kejriwal also raised the issue of parties giving tickets to people with criminal cases and asked whether this was not an insult to Parliament.
On moneybags entering Rajya Sabha,he said these industrialists,who were nowhere into public service become MPs on party tickets using the strength of their money. “Is this not misuse…insult of Parliament?”
He alleged that a businessman,who was part of Standing Committee on Civil Aviation,was framing policies which would help his company.
Asking who was responsible for bringing disrepute to Parliament,he said if there was Jan Lokpal law,some MPs would have been punished.
He alleged that all parties were equally responsible for giving tickets to criminals and the number of those with criminal background in Parliament was increasing election after election.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections,he claimed,Congress fielded 117 candidates and BJP gave tickets to 116 people with criminal background out of which 44 each won. “Why did these parties gave ticket to such people? What were the compulsions? Didn’t they insult Parliament by doing so? Can’t these parties be punished for this?” he said.
Taking on Rajneeti Prasad,who is one of the MPs who moved a privilege notice against him,Kejriwal reminded that it was he who tore the Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha and none of the MPs raised voice against it.
“All the MPs were silent. Even the Rajya Sabha Chairman was silent? Why were they silent? It was not the first time a bill was torn. This happened on earlier occasions also. But why is that nobody is punished? Rajneeti Prasad should be punished severely,” he said.
Releasing the letter to media,Kejriwal told reporters that Team Anna will soon write to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh providing evidence against 14 Union Cabinet ministers whom he had named as “corrupt”.
Hazare had set a deadline of August to register FIR against these ministers and warned the government that they will launch ‘jail bharo’ agitation,if it is not done.
Earlier in September last year,Kejriwal was served a notice for making “derogatory” remarks against Parliamentarians during Hazare’s agitation in Ramlila Maidan.
“In this Parliament,162 members have cases of heinous offences against them. In this Parliament,rapists are sitting,murderers and looters are sitting. How can you expect Jan Lokpal Bill to be passed by Parliament? How can you expect that you can get reprieve from poverty and corruption,” Kejriwal had said on February 25.