New Delhi: The government on Sunday questioned Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Aruna Jaitley participating in a public debate on the Lokpal bill at Anna Hazare's fast venue at Jantar Mantar even as his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defended him.

Terming the fast 'premature', government spokesperson Ashwani Kumar questioned Jaitley's participation in the debate.

'As far as Mr. Arun Jaitley's going there is concerned, as the leader of his party in Rajya Sabha, he should have debated it (Lokpal bill) in parliament,' Ashwani Kumar said.

'A public debate is in a way preempting and prejudging the issue which is really in contempt of parliament. I think these are matters which should be left to parliament,' he said.

Defending Jaitley, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said: 'Political parties expressing their opinion on an important issue like Lokpal is utilising democracy. Hence, Jaitley went there (debate).'

'A debate anywhere is normal as Lokpal is an issue of national concern,' she said, adding 'it should not be confined to parliament'.

'Parliament will do whatever it has to do,' said Sitharaman.

Speaking during the debate Jaitley stressed 'prime minister should be brought under the Lokpal'.

Hazare was on a one-day token fast at Jantar Mantar in the heart of the capital.


The activists had also invited political representatives for a debate on the Lokpal bill which was not attended by the Congress.

(Agencies)