More in store, Anna warns government

More in store, Anna warns government

Breaks fast; next target is electoral system

More in store, Anna warns government

After securing Parliament's nod on key elements of Jan Lokpal bill, Anna Hazare today ended his 12-day-old fast declaring that electoral reforms will be next on his agenda.

Anna Hazare ended his 13-day fast on Sunday morning, with a warning to the political establishment that his struggle for the Jan Lokpal bill was only a precursor to more campaigns including one that seeks to change the electoral laws to empower electors to recall their members of Parliament.

“I have only broken my fast. The fight for change has begun. We will continue it,” the Gandhian told a delirious crowd at the Ramlila ground celebrating the victory in the struggle against corruption, announcing that he would begin touring the country soon, and that his agenda for “change in system” included the education system and the farmers’ problems.

Soon after he broke his 13-day fast by accepting a glass of tender coconut water with honey from two eight-year-old girls, Simran, a dalit and Ikrah, a Muslim, Anna was shifted to the Medanta Medicity Hospital by the team of doctors led by Dr Naresh Trehan who have been monitoring his health throughout the fast.

Hazare, who had lost 7.5 kg in a little over 12 days, will stay in the hospital for a couple of days under medical observations. He will have a liquid diet till Monday.

The victory celebrations that began at Ramlila Maidan in the morning culminated in the evening at the historic India Gate in the Capital, with thousands of Anna admirers expressing their triumph with firecrackers exploding, lighting up the national monument in stark relief.

Flanked by his team members, including Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Manish Sisodia, Hazare, in his 18-minute speech congratulated the people and reiterated his last night’s remark that the events in Parliament on Saturday were “a victory of the people of India, democracy, the people assembled at Ramlila Grounds and the media.”

The septuagenarian, whose movement has been panned by critics of being too elitist, rigid and not inclusive enough to accommodate a pro-dalit, non-violent and democratic agenda, resorted to symbolism to counter criticism, and it was not limited to accepting coconut water from two girl children belonging to marginalised communities.

He twice referred to Baba Saheb Ambedkar and chanted the slogan of the Hindu-Muslim-Sikh-Christian unity to emphasise the non-sectarian and secular character of his movement to counter allegations of supports from RSS and elite middle class.

He referred to the Parliamentary resolution to accept his three points to be sent to the Standing Committee for bringing lower bureaucracy, Loakyaukta in states and Citizens’ Charter under the purview of Lokpal bill.

He maintained: “This has been done because of the people’s parliament which is superior to Parliament.”

“We have to implement our Constitution made by Baba Saheb Ambedkar. We have to build a corruption–free nation,” he said, advocating electoral reforms.

“There should be right to recall and right to reject (MPs). In elections, there should be an option to reject  all candidates. If majority of the people say that no one is fit to be their representative, the election should be cancelled. How much money they (candidates) will distribute? Once the candidate spends Rs 10 crore for one election and if the election is cancelled, then right sense will dawn upon them.”

Hazare put forward his vision of development. “ The way we are consuming coal and other resources, it will not last long. The people in power have no concern, but we have to think of environment,” he said.

Around 4,000 people stayed overnight at the protest venue while thousands started arriving in the morning. By the time, Anna stood up to address the crowd the Ground was packed.