Anna forecasts `wave of protest`, team softens stand on Ramdev

Warning that a "wave of protest" is building up, Anna Hazare on Monday asked the government to bring a strong Lokpal Bill or quit.

New Delhi: Warning that a "wave of protest" is building up, Anna Hazare on Monday asked the government to bring a strong Lokpal Bill or quit while his team softened its stand on yoga guru Ramdev whom they attacked yesterday for sharing dais with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

After an impressive turnout yesterday, the morning crowd at the fast venue of Jantar Mantar here was small but it grew to around 2,000 in the afternoon.

As Hazare`s fast entered the second day and his aides` sixth day, Team Anna said the government will have to send a messenger to the 74-year-old activist if it wanted to resolve the issue.

They also came with a bizarre statement during the day by appearing to see a conspiracy in the collapse of the northern power grid, alleging that new developments are happening as Hazare is sitting on an indefinite fast.

A group of Hazare supporters also staged a protest outside Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar`s residence here.

Strong words against Ramdev, who had pledged support to Hazare in his fight against corruption, were missing at the fast venue with Team Anna member Kumar Vishwas setting the tone that the yoga guru was free to meet whoever he wanted to.

Activist Kiran Bedi said Ramdev has the right to meet whom he wants to and the cause for which both Hazare and the yoga guru were fighting is the same.

"The goal is same. Ramdev is free to meet anybody. We have nothing against Ramdev meeting anybody. We have also met opposition leaders earlier," she told reporters.

On Modi, she said the case of the Gujarat Chief Minister is before the courts and "let courts take a decision".

Team Anna had yesterday strongly reacted to Ramdev sharing dais with Modi and praising him saying he found no basis for allegations of corruption in Gujarat.

Sanjay Singh, Team Anna Core Committee member, yesterday
described Modi as a "murderer of humanity" and said Ramdev has to explain his sharing dais with the senior BJP leader. Hazare has not reacted to Ramdev`s meeting with Modi.

Hazare had last year courted controversy after praising Modi, remarks which were later clarified as commending his initiatives for rural development. A section in Team Anna is against association with Ramdev.

Asked whether government has opened any channel of communication, Bedi answered in the negative.

"Dialogue with whom? Whom should we trust? Why don`t they (government) come? They should send a messenger to Anna if they want to talk," Bedi said.

On his part, Hazare said, "The way this wave of protest against corruption is building in the country, I am getting this feeling that the government would have to bring a strong Lokpal Bill or else it will have to go."

His close aide Arvind Kejriwal, who is into his sixth day of fasting, tweeted, "This time its do or die. Dedicate this week for the country. Take off from your work and college. Take to streets. Just one week.

"Pray for a corruption free India. I am very, very confident that time for India has arrived. Future belongs to India. And it will happen soon," he added.

On the power grid failure, Kumar Vishwas, a member of Team Anna`s Core Committee who is conducting the proceedings along with another activist Sanjay Singh at the Hazare fast venue, said government can do anything but people will come out and join the Hazare movement.

"Government can cut the grid, cut electricity, cut metro services, bus, auto services. But people will join Anna Hazare`s movement.

"Government is still arrogant and dictatorial. The time till Anna sits on fast new developments are happening in Delhi. Today, the grid has failed, Metro is down, but to reach here you don`t need metro or a car. You need only will and courage," he said.

Hazare also accused Union Minister V Narayanasamy of lying while his team challenged Law Minister Salman Khurshid to make the statements at Jantar Mantar.

Addressing his supporters late in the evening, Hazare said the government tried to break his team by cheating him.

"Narayanasamy is lying. People have understood that. He is saying that the five people sitting here are lying. You cannot cheat people. You tried to cheat me. I did not fall for it," Hazare said.

He said Narayanasamy wrote a letter to him and delivered it to his team in a bid to break the group. "I was in doubt when they said they will pass Jan Lokpal Bill. How can they do that when they have already passed a useless bill," he said.

Team Anna member Manish Sisodia dared Narayanasamy and Khurshid to come to Jantar Mantar and make the remarks they are making against them. "I challenge them. If they have the guts come to Jantar Mantar and say the things which they are telling the media," he said.

Slamming Team Anna, Narayanasamy has last week said there was lack of unity among members of Hazare`s team and dismissed the charge that government was trying to break it.

"There is already no unity among the members of Anna Hazare`s team. So, there is no need for us to break their unity, as someone alleged," the MoS in the PMO said.

Meanwhile, citing Bofors case, Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal accused both Congress and BJP of being hand in glove on the issue of corruption.

"There is a pact between BJP and Congress. If Congress comes to power, they will not probe corruption cases against BJP and the vice versa. If it`s not so, then why despite being in power for five years they (NDA) have failed take action against those involved in Bofors case? Why they (BJP) have failed to send anyone to jail?" he asked at Hazare`s protest venue.


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