Ending speculations about meeting Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal at his indefinite fast at Sundar Nagari, veteran anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare met his former lieutenant late on Friday night and appealed him to "break his fast at the most in two or three days."
Social activist Anna Hazare addressing the crowd assembled in Sundar Nagari as Arvind Kejriwal looks on. Sanjeev Verma/HT
He also said, the time has come for all to unite against the corrupt government.
Landing at about 9pm after a flight from Pune, Hazare went directly to Sundar Nagari, a slum redevelopment colony in northeast Delhi, where Kejriwal had embarked on his indefinite fast from March 23 against inflated power and water bills in the national capital due to "corruption", as AAP claims.
"The government wants that anshankaris like us should die. The people are not aware enough. Break your fast now and with renewed energy, start the battle again," Hazare said at a packed narrow by-lane in the slum colony after reaching the spot at about 11 pm. He also suggested that Kejriwal might break his fast "at the most after two or three days, it is a long fight."
Hazare congratulated the gathering saying it was their support and encouragement that gave strength to Kejriwal. "Arvind is not fighting for himself. He is fighting for justice. He is fighting for a poor common man."
"People, especially the press walahs have been asking me, let me tell again. Our ways might be different but destination is one. Samaj ki bhalai aur desh ki bhalai (Society's good, country's welfare). Whenever Arvind needs me, we will be together, we will stand by each other.".
He also said the time has now come in the country for all to unite and fight against the government, "be it Kejriwal, be it (Yoga guru) Ramdev or Sri Sri Ravi Shankar."
"When the elections are declared and the conditions do not change, I will be at the Ramlila maidan again … the public will then tell the government, 'put breaks on corruption or go home'."
Kejriwal thanked Hazare for his blessings. Before coming to stage, Hazare had met Kejriwal in the room behind the stage where the young AAP leader generally takes rest.
Kejriwal had before that announced that Hazare had agreed to come to his fast. But last week when Hazare had been in Delhi, he had said, he would visit Kejriwal "only if I have time."
Kejriwal has been camping and fasting since March 23 at Sundar Nagari against what AAP calls "inflated power and water bills due to corruption" in Delhi.
Earlier in the day on Friday, he had dared chief minister Sheila Dikshit for an open debate "anywhere anytime" as, Kejriwal claimed, "Documents we have show how Dikshit's claim is false and misleading and her government's massive corruption is the root cause of such inflated power bills."