Pune: Over 2,000 people accorded a rousing reception to social activist Anna Hazare, who arrived here on Monday evening from New Delhi after rallying the whole nation in his crusade against corruption.
The huge gathering outside the Pune airport raised slogans cheering Hazare, whose 97-hour hunger strike in New Delhi forced the government to name a panel that would frame a stringent Lokpal Bill.
The frail but smiling Hazare accepted the people`s greetings with folded hands.
Hundreds of social activists from Pune, Nashik and other parts of western Maharashtra had gathered at the airport since afternoon to receive the 73-year-old Gandhian.
Several hundreds of people in Pune, including students, had taken part in campaign rallies, candlelight processions and hunger strikes to express solidarity when Hazare fasted.
Hazare then left for his village Ralega-Siddhi in neighbouring Ahmednagar district.
A hero`s welcome awaits Hazare in the village, which will received the hero with elephants, horses and fireworks.
Ralega-Siddhi has been spruced up with colourful "rangolis". Almost every home is decorated with a "gudi" (symbolising Maharashtrian New Year, which was celebrated April 4), welcome banners and flags.