Ramlila thumps in Hazare spirit

Thousands of people, mainly the urban middle class youth, thronged the sprawling ground to support the anti-corruption crusader in his fight for a stringent Lokpal bill.
People had gathered at the ground in Central Delhi since the morning, waiting for the release of the Gandhian from Tihar Jail.

As soon as the Hazare reached Ramlila Maidan, he was greeted with cheers and hails. Thereafter, it was a carnival time for the crowd, mainly youngsters, with patriotic songs and loud slogans in the background. Even light drizzle lifted people’s spirits.

Hundreds of school students bunked their classes to come to the fasting ground—most of them not even knowing what Jan Lokpal bill is all about.

Vipul Kumar, a class XI student of Union Academy School in Central Delhi came with his friends just to see Anna Hazare. “I have heard of Anna Hazare that he is Gandhi of our time fighting against corruption. I have to come see him,” said Vipul Kumar.

Asked if he knows the difference between the government’s Lokpal and Team Anna’s draft on corruption watchdog, Vipul smiled and said “no”, and joined his friends, who were dancing to the tune of Vande Mataram song.

Same views were echoed by Neeraj Kumar, a third-year graduation student of Kirorimal College of Delhi University. He said “it is not necessary to know the nitty-gritties of these bills” and that “he knows corruption is a menace, which Anna Hazare wants to eradicate”.

People from differnt spheres of life delivered speeches from the stage erected for Anna Hazare. The Gandhian also joined the crowd to raise patriotic slogans.

Interestingly, Ramlila Maidan was also the venue of Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev’s fast against corruption and black money. One can notice a remarkable difference between the supporters of yoga instructor and that of Anna Hazare.

While the support base of Ramdev was mainly from rural areas having pan-India character, supporters of Anna Hazare are urban middle class youth, majority of them from Delhi.

Ramdev and his supporters were forcefully evicted from the Ramlila Maidan by the police. However, the government, at the moment, is going soft on Hazare.

More people are expected to flow into Ramlila ground in the next two days with weekly offs for colleges and offices on Saturday and Sunday.

Large crowd surprises Rajghat officials

Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial Rajghat was witness to an unusually large crowd on Friday when social activist Anna Hazare made a brief stopover along with thousands of supporters after leaving the Tihar Jail on way to the Ramlila ground, agencies report from New Delhi.

According to Rajghat officials, about 8,000 people converged at the memorial when Hazare reached there en route to the Ramlila ground. The crowd that swamped the Rajghat for around an hour and a half surprised the officials. Normally around 10,000 people visit the Mahatma memorial spread over the day.

“I have not seen such a large crowd at a time for a very long time,” said Rajghat Samiti secretary Rajnish Kumar.

Rajghat officials said they did not make any special arrangements as they had no prior information about Hazare’s stopover. 

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