Mumbai: In view of his deteriorating health condition, Anna Hazare on Wednesday called off fast at Mumbai’s MMRDA Ground.
The 74-year-old anti-corruption crusader broke his fast by sipping a glass of juice offered by a girl from his native village Ralegan Siddhi.
The unwell Hazare was urged by his doctors to give up the fast. He had started the three-day fast for a strong Lokpal on Tuesday.
Hazare also announced that the planned ‘jail bharo aandolan’ from December 30 to January 1 is being postponed indefinitely.
Announcing his decision, the Gandhian said it is just the beginning of the fight for a strong Lokpal.
"...Whatever we are seeing today in Parliament is tragic. So I have decided to call off the fast today," Hazare told the crowd.
“The fight might take 10 to 20 years,” he said while referring to the debate taking place in Parliament on Lokpal Bill.
“We haven’t lost the battle,” he added.
Hazare said the anti-corruption campaign would now focus on the upcoming Assembly elections in five states and the General Election in 2014, where his team would campaign against the ruling Congress.
Clarifying why they would campaign only against the Congress, Hazare said, “Congress has destroyed the nation. It was the Congress-led UPA which had cheated them from the beginning.”
Ruing what was happening in Parliament, Hazare said, “There is no democracy left in the country. It is now dictatorship.”
“Is this democracy what has been happening in Parliament for the past two days. The government and opposition joined hands and turned it into dictatorship,” he said, speaking from the dais.
“Real democracy is only when we make good laws,” he added.
“We have to bring change legally, not through violence,” he told supporters at the fast venue, asking them to be ready to go to jail.
“The day when there’s no space left in any jail across the country, the government’s eyes would open,” he said.
Replying to reporters’ query about the poor turnout, Hazare said, "I have no power, no money, yet people come."
Hazare said it has been 65 years since Independence but corruption, loot and goondagardi continues to affect the country.
“What has happened after Independence... the only change that happened is the whites went and blacks came,” he said.
Noting the people haven’t got real freedom, Hazare said his only aim is to get justice for the common man.
“I have been fighting for 25 years, not because we get money or funding but for the people,” he stated.
“I had decided long ago to live and die for the society and the country,” the social activist added.
Hazare’s close aide Arvind Kejriwal said the fast was being called off keeping in mind the deteriorating health of Hazare and the way the "weak" Lokpal Bill was "bulldozed" through the Lok Sabha.
Asked about the future course of action, Kejriwal said "We will build up pressure on the government to make subsequent amendments to the Lokpal Act if the bill is also passed by the Rajya Sabha and is made into a law. We will intensify our agitation."
Meanwhile, sources said Hazare, who is unwell, might be admitted to a hospital either in Mumbai or Pune.