Anna Hazare's sudden decision to end his fast and cancel the subsequent jail bharo agitation in Mumbai led to a vertical split in opinion at Ramlila Maidan on Wednesday.
Soon after Hazare's announcement — beamed live on the giant LCD screen at the venue — few supported their leader's decision while others were unhappy at the abrupt end.
Vijay Singh, an ex-serviceman from district Farukkhabad (UP), said, "I am very unhappy that the jail bharo has been cancelled. I came here basically for it. Even the fast should have continued till tomorrow."
Omkar Razdan, a Kalkaji resident, who had kept fast with his wife Vijaya Bazaz since Tuesday, said, "It was a bad decision to shift the agitation to Mumbai. Ending it abruptly will demoralise the supporters."
But another supporter Vijay Kumar, an ex-navy man with the campaign since April, vehemently disagreed, "This will not affect our moral. The government has shown how people's will is treated. But we people are the real owners of this country."
Nidhi Bahuguna, 40, a homemaker, too agreed, "There was a need and hence the strategy has been changed." Prakash Upadhyay, a fellow at the Teen Murti Bhawan, also said, "The government's lokpal bill was a wrong bill that has been passed. At least the Rajya Sabha should not pass it now. This is a people's movement, so we can now plan a better way to oppose it."
Hazare's health too figured among the reasons. Dr Subhash Chandra Mehta from Dwarka, said, "Annaji's health is an important issue. (There is) no problem if the agitation has been stopped." Arvind Gaur, IAC member and director with Asmita theatre group, too defended the decision, "Anna's health is of prime importance. We need Anna to be fit for the long fight."
However, those against Hazare's decision, like Razdan and his wife, do say that the activist will continue to get support from people. The two had started a signature campaign under the aegis of their NGO Nirmal Karmbhoomi, asking people if they want Janlokpal, inclusion of the Prime Minister and CBI in the lokpal bill. "We will continue with the campaign and also support Anna," Razdan said.