Tarique Anwar, BeyondHeadlines
New Delhi: The hunger strike of veteran social activist Anna Hazare against corruption has entered its third day, with the Gandhian refusing to budge from his demand that the common man be given a voice in drafting of the Jan Lokpal Bill.
Speaking to reporters today morning, the noted social activist said that he is not afraid of death even as he knows that there are people who want him killed.
hazare said, “I am a little weak, but fine otherwise.” He said public support for his campaign had strengthened him. “I think nothing will happen to me for another 7 days, don’t worry God is with me, and I will be fine,” the soldier of many such battles said.
Doctors attending to him said that his health is fine as of now but they are keeping a close watch.
Seventy-three-year-old Hazare reiterated that he has lost hope that politicians will do anything to curb corruption, while also stressing that not all politicians are not corrupt but the good ones are also not able to do anything to curb the menace.
“I won’t budge from truth,” Hazare said while hoping that wisdom dawns on the country’s politicians.
Expressing concern about the state of affairs in the country, he said that earlier India was known as a place where golden birds perch on every tree, now the situation has come to such a pass that it is now said that India is a country where, once upon a time, golden birds perched on every tree.
“But now I have hope, seeing the support of the people, that we can rebuild our country,” he said amidst thunderous applaud from the hundreds of people who have gathered at Jantar Mantar in support of his crusade against corruption.
Taking on all those who have criticised his movement, Hazare said, “So you want that you loot the people and then also people should keep mum. People will protest.”
Yesterday, he had responded to Congress’ criticism that his protest was “premature”. H had said authorities resort to “malicious slandering” whenever cornered and asserted that he was not a kind of person who could be “instigated” into going on an indefinite fast.
Revealing that Swami Vivekananda was his first role model in life, he said, “I have nothing to fear. I don’t have any bank balance. The Rs 25 lakh that I got as felicitation money from the different honours that have been conferred on me, has been converted into a trust and the Rs 1.25 lakh incurred as interest is used for the marriage expenses of poor girls. I have no money, so I enjoy complete bliss.”
Hazare also publically apologised to Uma Bharti for having been sent back by his supporters when she came to meet him yesterday. He said, in a democracy, everybody has the right to be part of the movement. If she wants to express her support she can do so but she can’t be part of the dais.
The movement against corruption is surely gathering steam as people are coming out on the streets all across the country in his support.
His protest has led to the resignation of Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar from the Group of Ministers on corruption after the Gandhian took potshots at him.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had yesterday discussed with some Cabinet colleagues the issue after which Kapil Sibal is said to have met Swami Agnivesh over the demands made by Anna Hazare.
The general sense at the informal confabulations was that there was a need to defuse the situation that had arisen due to the fast-unto-death campaign launched on Tuesday which is getting support from the increasing number of people.
Sibal is also reportedly has met the Prime Minister once again today morning over the issue.
Hazare had yesterday shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, slamming the reaction of his government and Congress to his indefinite fast on Lokpal Bill issue, and urged him to show courage to take unprecedented steps to fight the menace.
The activist is demanding enactment of Jan Lokpal Bill as the legislation proposed by the government was not adequate and lacked teeth. He has maintained that a joint committee, comprising representatives of the government and civil society, should be set up to firm up the bill.
Government has already set up a sub-group of four ministers within the Group of Ministers on anti-corruption to take on board the suggestions of civil society.