An expectant atmosphere, a crowd brimming with excitement, zealous supporters and a heightened frenzy towards late evening and a jubilant end... the fourth day of the fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar by social activist Anna Hazare and others against corruption saw it all.
Amidst chants, sloganeering, candlelight processions and plate beating, there was a palatable tension in the air as the crowd expected a breakthrough in talks between government and the activists on Friday.
And there was loud cheering and clapping when Hazare, 73, declared that the government had acceded to their demands but also said that the fast-unto-death would be called off only when the notification/government order is issued by the government.
With Hazare’s words, the sea of humanity started celebrating “a big achievement for the people”.
“This is a very important day in our life and for generations to come. Corruption, which is plaguing our country for so long, will finally be tackled with this bill,” said Asha Sinha, a Delhi University student.
On Friday, as many as 499 people were part of Hazare’s fast-unto-death as well as a single day’s fast.
Earlier in the day, the crowd gathered there had grown by more than double that of Thursday’s turn out. Apart from the hordes of common people who turned up at the venue, there were several groups of people from various professions who marched right in front of Hazare’s pandal expressing their solidarity. The Bar Council and Jat Mahasangh were just two of the many such groups from Delhi and outside. “We support Hazare wholeheartedly,” was their unified voice.
Going by the developments by the hour, visitors to the venue were anticipating success. Said Sunita Singh and Rashmi Saini, both MBA students, “Anna Hazare will definitely win. People are serious. Every person counts, it is going to be successful.”
In order to cater to the growing crowds, even the authorities had chipped in their bit.
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) had set up mobile toilets and brought in drinking water tankers while the police deployment had increased substantially at the protest spot.