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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Day 2: IAC pulls out all stops to draw crowds to Anna's turf

Prajakta Chavan, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, December 29, 2011
First Published: 01:29 IST(29/12/2011) | Last Updated: 01:30 IST(29/12/2011)

Disappointed by the low turnout on Day 1, India Against Corruption (IAC) left no stone unturned to draw in the crowds at MMRDA ground on the second day of the agitation.

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Pamphlets informing people about the agitation were distributed at railway stations and roads. A free bus service was started from Bandra and Kurla railway stations to BKC by the organisers. Volunteers deployed outside stations appealed to commuters to attend the rally, and directing them to the free buses.

IAC coordinator Mayank Gandhi said: "After seeing Tuesday's turnout we are mobilising people to the ground. People are struggling to reach the venue because of transport problems. Mumbaiites are ready to come, but are discouraged by the lack of connectivity."

Though several organisations had backed the IAC during their earlier agitations, very few people were seen this time around. Gandhi said as the day wore on: "All the organisations and associations that supported us in the last agitation are ready to come. It's only a matter of time. They all are expected in the evening."

All the mobilisation clearly helped, because the crowd had swelled by evening when Anna Hazare broke his fast. The police said the number of participants was between 4,000 and 5,000. However, the IAC pegged the figure at over ten times that. "The crowd was 60,000 plus, after which we stopped registering," said Preeti Sharma Menon, IAC's media coordinator.

Groups like Yuva Jagruti Manch, Punjab, Bhim Chhaya Rahivasi Sangh, Kanmavarnagar, and some residential groups from Goregaon, Sion and Santacruz trooped in in the evening. "Our group has participated in all Anna rallies so we decided to continue our support in Mumbai. We will continue to support Anna wherever he goes," said Mohnish Sharma, president of Yuva Jagruti Manch.  

One of the largest contingents present at the venue, around 200 strong, was from his hometown, Ralegan Siddhi. "We learned through the media that Anna's health is deteriorating, so we have come here to support him. If Anna's health is sound we will stage many such agitations. His health must come first," Sampatrao Ugale, 37, deputy sarpanch of Ralegan Siddhi said.


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