As more and more supporters joined in the movement against corruption at Ramlila Maidan, the face of the agitation — Anna Hazare, remained away from the common man and the media, sitting atop a high podium at the venue.
On day seven, the 73-year-old anti-graft crusader spent comparatively lesser time on the stage as his health deteriorated. In fact, he did not even address the media in the evening along with other members of the India Against Corruption (IAC) campaign. However, organisers claimed it was not unusual.
“Even during April agitation at Jantar Mantar, Hazare was out of bounds for one-on-one interactions with media or anybody else. The high stage here has helped as he speaks less this way,” said an IAC member.
Hazare’s day starts at 6.30am and after morning ablutions; he spends about an hour in his devotion and meditation.
“He sleeps in the makeshift roof erected behind the podium and carries out his personal activities, including long discussions with the doctors, in this room,” said Manish Sisodia, another IAC member.
Since the day (August 16) he began his indefinite fast, Hazare has been consuming only boiled water.
Sitting at the high podium or in his room, Hazare is surrounded by close IAC campaigners, a team of volunteers and student bodyguards from Jai Hind Chhatra Morcha of Haryana apart from people from his village in Maharashtra.
The close associates from Hazare’s village include Vijay Hazare, 27, his nephew, Anil Sharma and Suresh Dada Pathare. “We are a group of 8-10 people from Ralegan Siddhi, who are there with him all the time. In fact, we are with him even at night when he sleeps,” his nephew told HT.