People's victory, a fast-of-its-kind
Capital reverberates with cheers as Hazare ends fast-unto-death.delhi Updated: Apr 09, 2011 23:17 IST
Sarkar badi yaa janta (Who is more powerful, government or the people)? asked the person with a microphone to receive loud equivocal reply from the people... "Janta".
"This is a message to the government that from now onwards, only what the people want will happen," said Manish Sisodia, one of the activist associated with the India Against Corruption campaign.
Around 10am on Saturday at Jantar Mantar, where social activist Anna Hazare had embarked on a fast-unto-death since April 5, demanding public participation for drafting a stringent Lokpal bill, the atmosphere was charged with anticipation of 'the' announcement.
People started pouring in right since morning and the crowd swelled into a sea of humanity with celebrations going on in small clusters here and there around the main pandal. In walked on to the stage former IPS officer Kiran Bedi with a copy of the government's draft notification announcing names that would draft the Lokpal bill. Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal, another activist of the campaign, waved a tricolour from the stage and later posed for cameras showing copies of the notification in their hands.
Hazare walked on to the stage in pristine white kurta, a matching dhoti, a Gandhi cap and a smile on his lips as he screamed 'bharat mata ki jai', 'inquilab zindabad' and 'vande mataram' in a voice that belied his five- day fast-unto-death.
He then offered lemon juice to women who had observed fast with him and later accepted a glass of juice for himself from a young girl. "If the government does not introduce the bill in the monsoon session, we will march to the Red Fort on August 15."
"The real battle has started now. After the Lokpal bill, we have to fight for electoral reforms and also demand right to recall all elected representatives," he said. People cheered and shouted slogans all along.
Suresh Kumar Rastogi, 61, who was also on fast-unto-death, said: "It is only 30% of the achievement. The actual win will be when these things reach the rural areas."
Although Hazare was scheduled to address the media at around 5pm, it was cancelled owing to his poor health. "Hazare's blood pressure has been high since morning and the doctors have advised him to take rest," said the message from the organisers. Hazare did not join the celebrations at the India Gate in the evening too.