Tired, but Hazare keeps the momentum going

Scenes at the Ramlila Maidan, where 74-year-old Gandhian Anna Hazare has been staging is fast-unto-death protest for the seventh day, is replicated in cities and towns across the country with the anti-corruption crusader seemingly holding an invisible thread to keep the movement and the momentum going.

Despite looking a tad weak, the calm never slipped from his face as he silently exhorted lakhs across the country to be on the streets demanding ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’.

Supporters trooped into the Maidan sporting “I am Anna cap; the gears sold for Rs 10 by poor hawkers letting them blend instantly with the crowd and with the cause the septuagenarian has been fighting for.

Help for the gathering mass had been coming from various sources, with those like Naveen Gupta distributing free hand fans to stave off the oppressive afternoon heat.  Silent support to the movement in the form of contributions to keep the gathering strong and cheerful has been coming from different people.

Arun Gupta, along with ten of his friends from ‘Yamuna Vihar,” wanted to inject “some energy” to Anna supporters and reached the ground with a truck-full of bananas and biscuits. “ Police are troubling us, not allowing the truck to enter the Maidan”, he complained.

Police presence has been limited to the entry points where metal detectors stand to check those walking in, while organisers inside the venue are busy enrolling volunteers.
Forms distributed provide options to the volunteers such as: “ I will take leave” or “I can not take leave.” They are also being asked to give their contact details, a strategy designed to bolster support by enrolling fresh volunteers.

Besides the hard-boiled scribes, the Anna fast has also brought  some of the trainee journalists to “the ground” to study the buzz  “ I am from an Institute of Media to file a report.

 I feel it is spontaneous movement” said Aditi Choudhary and Pallavi, students who had walked by to take a look at the scene here.

 On the dais, one of the speaker rubbished the attempt to call the movement “middle class” and as if to demonstrate its widespread appeal, asked the Tribal  leader P V Raj Gopal to address the gathering.

Also scene on the grounds were a few international visitors. “ I am Mike from Chicago, US. I am really impressed, the issues are largely the same in my country” said one of them.

Outside the maidan, small posse of Rapid Action Force casually stroll around keeping an eye on the action inside the venue.

Until now at least, there seemed no need for them to make a forced entry in.

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