Ralegan Siddhi (Maharashtra): Veteran social activist Anna Hazare’s indefinite fast for Jan Lokpal Bill entered second day on Wednesday.
The anti-corruption crusader, who started his fast-unto-death yesterday to press for immediate passage of Jan Lokpal Bill in Parliament, said that he won’t buckle under government pressure and this time it will be a do or die situation.
“I have heard rumours that they will move me from here saying my health is not good. If this happens, then I will stop drinking water. They had betrayed us at the time of Jan Lokpal Bill agitation in Delhi. Now once again they are doing the same thing. If my health deteriorates genuinely, than you can do whatever you want. That why we have arranged for a doctor her e also. Our doctor and government’s doctor will keep a check on my health,” he said.
“The Parliament session is going on and you should introduce the bill in parliament. The Rajya Sabha just has to debate on it. And I don’t think it will take much time for the debate. After Rajya Sabha passes the bill, then it can be easily passed in the Lok Sabha as they have done it earlier also,” he added.
The demand for a Lokpal Bill was seen as a revolutionary anti-graft movement, which in 2011 not only drew tens of thousands of Indians united against corruption onto the streets, but also stopped parliamentary proceedings and dominated the headlines for days on end.
But 18 months on, India Against Corruption (IAC) – a popular movement led by a group of the country”s prominent social activists – have split due to the decision by some members to move from activism into politics.
The IAC movement, launched in December 2010, marked the first time in India that both the poor and the middle classes were united against corruption in such large numbers.
Over the past year, India has been transfixed by a campaign led by Anna Hazare to force the government to create an ombudsman, which would prosecute corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.
Hazare”s initial hunger strike brought millions of sympathisers out on streets and forced the government into a series of humiliating U-turns.
But “Team Anna” had lost some steam. When Hazare launched his third hunger strike in Mumbai, just before the New Year, very few turned up and he had to call it off prematurely because he was ill.
The proposed bill envisages the setting up of a national anti-corruption watchdog to check financial mismanagement and corrupt practices that have deeply pervaded several democratic and civic institutions of India.