Biplob Ghosal/Shruti Saxena
New Delhi: For those who believed that Anna’s magic is not working, here is an update. On Monday, as anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare’s fast-unto-death entered second day, the 74-year-old from Ralegan Siddhi village in Ahmednagar district has once again proved that he continues to command substantial support.
Although Team Anna’s campaign started on a weak note with fears that the Lokpal movement will fizzle, the Gandhian’s announcement of joining the fast has breathed new life into the movement.
Going by the crowd swell, it is clear Anna Hazare has not failed. There is no stopping him. The air is again abuzz with songs like Dekho saara desh chala, Anna tere saath mein, ably matched by banners which read Kar daalein kuch desh ke waste, aao chale Anna ke raaste.
The green carpets at the Jantar Mantar fast venue are no longer empty although the support is yet to reach its peak like last year.
Rain and the early morning blackout which disrupted metro services played spoilsport but supporters are trooping in, slowly but resolutely. People belonging to all age groups are present to show their solidarity with the movement.
While talking to Zeenews.com, a seven-year-old kid, Ashmit, who came with his mother at Jantar Mantar said, “I am here to meet Annaji”.
Chanting slogans like Vande Mataram and Inquilaab Zindabaad at the top of their voices, the crowd’s vigour was indeed electrifying. Waving of the Tricolour and people chanting Anna tum sangharsh karo, hum tumhaare saath hain depicted zeal in people to fight against corruption.
Hailing Anna Hazare’s movement, Ankita Dhingra, a Law student at the IP University, said, “We believe that, sooner or later, Jan Lokpal Bill would be passed”.
Determined to be a part of now-or-never protest, Manoj Ishkarnan, a scientist from Rewari, who is also fasting ever since Anna Hazare began his fast, said, “I left my job as I want to participate in the fight for the cause of general public.”
“I have been jailed 22 times till now, but I will support Anna till the end”, he added.
Keen to register her contribution, a housewife from Gulabi Bagh, Delhi, Pushpa, said: “Anna is fighting for us. Only when the menace of corruption will be curbed, welfare would step in. We just can’t sit at home and relax. Hence, I am here to support him and believe that Anna will win”.
Swati, who works at HCL, said she took a day-off from office to come and support Anna’s anti-graft movement.
On being asked that what will she do tomorrow, she said, “She will come at Jantar Mantar first and then go to office”.
Some people, however, seemed to be upset with the media coverage. Hari Om from New Kondli said that the media has sold itself to the government.
"Though we can see an entire contingent of media, still there is not live, continuous coverage on TV," he rued.
At the same time, Shweta from Noida requested the media to play a proactive and unbiased role.
A highlight of the protest venue was the cartoon corner. While one cartoon evoked the undying spirit of aam admi with the slogan “Rise above your differences, unite for a cause of your nation. Let us not repent in future again”, another one goes: “Forbes list ki arabpatiyon ki list mein lagaatar dasvi baar bhartiye number top par”.
Among the humdrum were a set of protesters who lent their support to the movement by setting up ‘Anna ki Rasoi’. They were seen busy serving food and water to the needy.
However, as the government appears in no mood to even start a dialogue with Anna Hazare, it remains to be seen how the movement will progress in the coming days.
Anna appears adamant, and the government resolute – the stage is set for yet another showdown.