New Delhi: Anna Hazare's team on Sunday hit out at Congress for leveling allegations against the Gandhian saying the charges only betrayed the party's "nervousness" in the face of his proposed fast and wondered whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was responsible only to his office and not to the country.

As Congress raised its pitch seeking to puncture Hazare's morality plank by telling him to first clarify the "serious findings" of Justice PB Sawant Commission against him and his trusts, his close associate Kiran Bedi said Congress spokesman Manish Tewari seems to be "under stress" to defend his party.

"Such an allegation speaks of visible nervousness of Anna's call for it has reached out to all victims of corruption," Bedi told a news agency.

Claiming that the country is fortunate to have the likes of Hazare, she said the Gandhian is a recipient of some of the most prestigious national awards like Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri and "the first basis of all these is integrity".

She said one has to either crush corruption or be ready to stay crushed by it. "August 16 (when Hazare starts his indefinite fast), provides an opportunity and Anna will not be here forever," she said.

Tewari claimed that team Anna consists of "armchair fascists, over ground Maoists, closet anarchists ...lurking behind forces of right reaction and funded by invisible donors whose links may go back a long way abroad".

On the Prime Minister's late night letter to Hazare asking him to approach Delhi Police on the issue of his protest venue, activist Arvind Kejriwal said, "It seems that the Prime Minister is responsible for PMO and not for the country.

"If the Constitution is not followed, if fundamental rights are not allowed, if there is a problem, it seems he is hesitating to take responsibility," he alleged. In a late night response to Hazare who rejected Delhi police's conditions to limit his protest to three days and 5,000 people, Singh told the social activist that his grievances needed to be "addressed by the statutory authorities who have taken the decision...my office does not in any way get involved in the decision-making process."

Kejriwal said it was wrong for the Prime Minister to say that the letter giving permission was not given by his office and he is not responsible for it.

"It is very depressing that the Prime Minister says this is too small a matter for him to bother about," lawyer Prashant Bhushan said.

Kejriwal said there were several conditions which are unacceptable to them because it was unconstitutional. "It is very interesting that we gathered at Jantar Mantar on April five without any such clause. They never asked for any undertaking," he claimed.

Hazare accused the government of "deceit" by putting conditions on his agitation and sought the intervention of the Prime Minister asking him to "show courage" and protect his fundamental rights.

Singh said "the terms and conditions on which you are entitled to carry on with your protest are decided by the statutory authorities concerned taking into account the prevailing circumstances and other relevant factors".

The Prime Minister went on to add, "We are all committed to the Constitution of India and to uphold it in both letter and spirit".

Addressing a press conference after Delhi Police sent a letter to him containing 22 conditions, Hazare made it clear that he was ready for any eventuality in case government decides to crack down on his protest, saying he would not mind going to jail or being beaten up by police.

Hazare's demand unconstitutional: Centre

Rejecting Anna Hazare's contention that it was crushing his constitutional rights by not allowing his protest at a desired venue, Government on Sunday said the demand itself was ‘unconstitutional’ and his agitation on Lokpal Bill at this stage was an ‘affront’ to the Parliament.

Union Ministers Kapil Sibal and Ambika Soni also slammed Hazare for his letter to Prime Minister written on Saturday saying the language used in the letter "is not Gandhian" from any point of view.

"Is all that he has written in the letter shows any Gandhian mindset? It is not known who has written the letter but it has Anna Hazare's signatures. Nobody has attempted to hit the Prime Minister in such a below the belt manner," Soni told reporters at a press conference on a Sunday.

Both the ministers, however, dismissed suggestions of the government reacting "in panic" over the issue.
 
Sibal alleged that Anna Hazare team was raking up controversy over the venue as they wanted to hog media limelight by protesting at a centrally located area.

"You want to show your face before channels' cameras. You want that all TV cameras are focused on you," he said.

Reacting to Hazare's allegation that the government was putting impediments in his proposed fast, the Union Minister said, "The right to protest does not mean right to protest at your choice. There is no right to protest at place of your choice and convenience."

He also cited judgements of the Supreme Court and the Delhi High court to support his stand.

"The protest is thoroughly unconstitutional.... It is an affront to Parliament" he said questioning the purpose of the fast and alleging that there were some "other powers" behind the agitation and it had a different purpose.

(Agencies)