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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

'Media session changed mood at the rally'

Poorvi Kulkarni, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, December 29, 2011
First Published: 01:31 IST(29/12/2011) | Last Updated: 01:33 IST(29/12/2011)

The passing of the Lokpal bill by the lower house of Parliament late on Tuesday night would have undoubtedly shaken the morale of Team Anna. The unpredictable turn of events on the second day of the fast-cum-rally only added to their worries.

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The relatively low turnout of people on Day 1 forced India Against Corruption, the umbrella organisation for Team Anna's campaigns, to station groups of volunteers at Bandra and Kurla stations to appeal to the people to come to the venue and show support to the ailing man who was "fasting for the country". Regular buses to the venue were also provided. At the venue too, the number of people fasting had dwindled, though the 40 people that continued fasting were determined to support Anna to the end.

"The poor turnout is all the more reason to stay on in this movement," said Prakash Acharya, an ex-navy officer, who fasted on both days.

The on-stage events went on in their usual manner with people from the crowd delivering short speeches punctuated by amateur bands playing popular songs. When the doctors announced in the afternoon that Anna Hazare's health continued to show signs of deterioration, the campaign briefly seemed to have reached a deadlock.

It was the media session, which began shortly after Kejriwal's speech, that changed the mood of the rally.

Uncomfortable questions were posed to Hazare and Kejriwal. Questions asked included Team Anna's unbridled assault of the Congress Party, the plan of action of the team in the light of the passage of the Lokpal bill by the Lok Sabha, and the sudden surge in crowd numbers that seemed to be a result of providing free bus rides.

The biggest relief for the people, however, was the 74-year-old breaking his fast.


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