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Crowds keep up with debate

delhi Updated: Aug 27, 2011 23:57 IST
Prasad Nichenametla
Prasad Nichenametla
Hindustan Times
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It was the day Anna Hazare was expected to break his fast, so VK Asthana (64), a retired UP government official brought his entire family - wife, son, daughter in law and their two children - from Noida to the Ramlila Maidan.

The 13.5 acre ground in central Delhi swelled with enthusiastic crowds on Saturday who did not want to miss being a part of the 'historical moment.'

"This is unprecedented in history of the Parliament when the entire sansad united to speak in Anna's voice," Kiran Bedi, 'the IPS lady' who mimicked the political class hiding her head in a dupatta a day earlier, said. The crowds cheered.

There were no big screens telecasting the live debate on Jan Lokpal Bill at Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Instead, Team Anna kept the crowd sentiment whipped up with regular announcements of their analysis of developments in Parliament, 3 km away. Bedi used her iPad to keep Anna and the crowd updated.

When it was announced that Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, BJP leaders in the two Houses supported Anna's stand the crowds cheered in joy.

When informed that Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit has reservations on lower bureaucracy's inclusion in Lokpal the crowd jeered.

Yashpal Bulia (50) from Rohtak (Haryana) threw his hands into the air in despair. "It is at the lower levels that corruption is worst, they should fall under direct purview of Lokpal," he said. Bulia went on to tell about his bitter experiences in government offices where he lost money and time for no fault.'

"We do not have separate expectations, we support all that Anna is fasting for. We came to see Anna, hope he would end fast today," Asthana told HT as the family waited to catch glimpse of Hazare.

With the Parliament favouring Anna's stand, the crowd was largely relaxed.

Yet, the mention of names like Manish Tewari, Kapil Sibal heated the air. While those on stage were discreet, the young crowd - mostly school kids enjoyed some un-Parliamentary slogans, penned creatively and shouted caustically.

And also there were some balanced views.

"The issue is serious, we need a Lokpal but it's not fair to let Anna starve for weeks together. Let some other of the team take over from him now," said Roohi Thakur (37) from Gurgaon, with her husband, Harish Thakur (42), nodding in approval.