The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) may be trying hard to make use of social activist Anna Hazare's ongoing fast. On Friday, hopes of some of the party leaders to cash in on the sentiment were dashed when the crowd booed them at Ramlila Maidan.
BJP leaders Gopinath Munde and Ananth Kumar had to abruptly leave the venue after being greeted with cries of 'chor chor' from the crowd, on a day that saw some anti-politician speeches. Munde, who comes from Hazare's state Maharashtra, and Kumar had come to the Ramlila Maidan to meet Hazare.
As they started addressing the media on the ground, Hazare team member Kiran Bedi told the crowd to ask them if they would allow Parliament to function, accusing politicians of double standards.
Saying Saturday would show which party stood where on the issue, Bedi said, "It is a good news that Parliament has a sitting tomorrow. But we don't know whether it will be allowed to function."
With people shouting 'chor chor' (thief, thief), the two had to beat a retreat. However, the leaders told PTI they were not hooted and had a 40-minute meeting with Hazare.
Film star Om Puri also made an explicitly anti-politician speech labeling the political class "ganvaar" (rustics). Meanwhile, Shiv Sena supreme Bal Thackeray's grandson Aditya Thackeray also visited Ramlila Maidan. This happened at a time when Bal Thackeray accused Hazare's team of playing with his life in his newspaper 'Saamna'.
Politicians have been flocking to the venue to have a slice of the campaign's legitimacy for some days now. BJP leader Varun Gandhi sat in the crowds two days ago, and the party's Ahmednagar MP Dilip Gandhi had visited the spot on Thursday, alongwith two Shiv Sena MPs Adhalrao Patil and Bhausaheb Wakchaure.