New Delhi: Amidst the chanting of Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, people earnestly pinned their hopes on Anna Hazare, fondly called the “modern Mahatma”. From college students to housewives, retired servicemen to professionals, thousands of supporters on Tuesday gathered at Jantar Mantar to extend their support to Hazare in his anti-corruption crusade.
The Magsaysay Award winner activist has decided to fast unto death to wake the government up. He seeks a corrupt-free India, and for this, he has called for representation from civil society in drafting of the anti-graft Lokpal bill.
Not satisfied with the Lokpal Bill prepared by the government as a “toothless legislation”, Hazare wants the government to adopt the alternative Jan Lokpal Bill drafted by activist Arvind Kejriwal, former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde, and senior counsel Prashant Bhushan.
The anti-corruption crusader and his brigade, comprising retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi, social reformist Swami Agnivesh, and Right to Information activist Arvind Kejriwal, have instilled hopes in many.
The recent bunch of scams, such as 2G, CWG, and the issue of black money stashed abroad have enraged the common man of the country.
“It’s the limit. We can’t tolerate this (scams and corruption) anymore,” said an infuriated supporter of Anna Hazare.
While talking to Zeenews.com, a retired major general shared his grievances. Mr JP Gupta said the number of scams and rampant corruption in the country forced him to be a part of this movement led by Anna Hazare.
“There is a modern Mahatma, who has started this movement and I wanted to be a part of it not because of myself but for my children and grand children, so that they don't suffer what we have gone through throughout our life. One has to pay everywhere to get the job done. We have to start from somewhere to stop corruption so I am here."
Lashing out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for total inaction against his tainted cabinet ministers, the retired major general said, "How can a Prime Minister of the world’s biggest democracy say that he doesn't know anything and he was kept in the dark, its coalition dharma etc etc."
"Such excuses by the executive head are uncalled for," he rued.
Clearly, the movement seems to have struck the right chord.
"If the government is willing to form Lokpal Bill, why cannot it accommodate people from civil society into the decision-making body? Today’s movement will surely create awareness,” said Mr RK Avasthi, who is from ITDC.
A volunteer with the movement, Ankit Kakkar, took a leave from his office to do something “for the country”. "We are not left with any other option, but to come on the roads and protest and above all this is a non-violent movement.”
It’s a do-or-die movement for many. A number of supporters were also observing fast with Anna Hazare.
“If we all can celebrate the World Cup victory on streets, why can’t we come in huge numbers and complain?” questioned Ankita, a college student.
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First Published: Wednesday, April 06, 2011, 01:00