Tepid end to Ramlila fast

Tepid end to Ramlila fast

On day 2, the crowd didnt exceed 2,000, and the mood was sombre

Team Anna's protest at Ramlila Ground in Central Delhi against the government’s Lokpal Bill could not get much response from the supporters on the second day Wednesday and was called off after anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare ended fast in Mumbai.

The day started with lukewarm response from the supporters, as only around 300 people were present at the ground by 11 am. The arrival of Kiran Bedi on the podium at around 11.30 and her fiery speech infused the supporters with some enthusiasm and the crowd gradully swelled, but not to any significant size.

When Bedi said that “The same Parliament that has passed the Right To Information Bill and Domestic Violence Bill, does not want to pass strong Lok Pal Bill and has cheated us', the crowd, which had increased to around 1,000 clapped and shouted slogans.

“What kind of country is this? Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Lok Sabha members promised in Annaji in August to pass a strong Jan Lok Pal Bill and citizen charter bill but they now have broken their promise. They have passed a Dhoka Bill which is unacceptable,” Bedi asked rhetorically.

“Till the CBI will not become an independent body, the corrupt will go undetected,” she said.

After the Bedi's speech, Maj Gen (retired) V K Singh, who also served a few years on deputation in Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), shared with the crowd his experience of corruption in the India's external intelligence agency.

Seeing the low turnout of supporters at the ground, IAC co-chairman Shanti Bhushan said, “The movement has forced the government to pass a bill, however weak. It is a weak bill, no doubt, but it is your pressure that made it happen.”

Bhushan also said: “Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi only tried to confuse and distract the whole issue in Parliament by attempting to give Lokpal a constitutional status. Our aim is to have a strong Lok Pal Bill, whether it has a constitutional status, or not.”

Like the first day of fast on Tuesday, the crowd did not exceed more than 2,000 at its peak.

However, when Anna Hazare appeared on the LED screen live telecast from Mumbai, people danced with Indian flags and started slogans 'Anna tum sangharsh karo hum tumhare saath hai'.

But when Anna announced he would break his fast and postpone the the jail bharo agitation, the crowd fell silent, its mood dampened. The whole crowd including Team Anna members, volunteers, police personnel and media person were glued to the LED screen showing live telecast of Hazare.

At the end, Prashant Bhushan told the supporters that they were ending the agitation, as Hazare had called off the fast “as he is not well”.

“But our struggle to pass strong Lokpal Bill will continue. We will let you all know our next strategy of future action after the core committee meeting,” said Prashant Bhushan, asking the crowd to stay till the national anthem was played.

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