Facing a cold response to his dharna politics in Mumbai, anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare called off the three-day fast and the jail bharo movement on Wednesday.
His team, however, cited bad health as the reason for the call-off and claimed that the low turnout was not a proof
of Hazare's decreasing popularity.
After cutting short his programme, he also cancelled the proposed dharna outside Sonia and Rahul Gandhi's residences and broke his fast at 6.40pm, taking a glass of juice from a small girl from his native village, Ralegaon Siddhi.
Hazare and his team decided to stick to their opposition to the Congress-led UPA government despite the ruling combine having taken forward the lokpal, judicial accountability and whistleblowers bills separately that figured in Team Anna's wish list.
Significantly, they refrained from criticising the BJP, SP and the BSP, which opposed various provisions of the bill in Parliament on Tuesday.
When asked why he and his team were not criticising the BJP, Hazare left the press conference in a huff.
Earlier, asked whether a low turnout was the reason behind his decision, Hazare said, "I stopped eating four days ago since my health was bad…It is not right to say that there are fewer people here."
Although India Against Corruption (IAC), an NGO run by Hazare, insisted that the number of protestors was more than a lakh on day two, police authorities said around 4,600 people turned up on Wednesday.
After announcing the withdrawal of the campaign, Anna said it was just the beginning of a long fight and launched an all-out war on the Congress. He accused the government of 'cheating the people' by tabling a weak lokpal bill and of fooling him on several occasions.
Team Anna has decided to take on the Congress in five states - of which only Manipur and Goa have Congress governments - due for elections early next year.
"I will be traveling to the five states that are due for elections and make voters aware of the anti-corruption movement and the way the government has cheated us. In two years, there will be national elections, when I will be on a national campaign," he said.
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