On the 11th day of Anna Hazare’s indefinite fast, Ramlila Maidan, saw a variety of speakers and an equally wide range of supporters. Even as a number of known faces flocked to address the supporters, the crowd — around 7,000 people — was visibly thinner and comprised mostly of students.
Government school children, in uniforms, came in large numbers. However, it was the rowdy lot among them, which created a ruckus irritating genuine supporters and media persons.
“Guess they have all bunked their classes to have fun here,” said Rajat Khanna, who danced in front of TV cameras creating hurdles in their coverage.Earlier, to the surprise of many, Aditya Thackeray, grandson of Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray, was seen extending his support to Hazare’s crusade. However, BJP leaders Ananth Kumar and Gopinath Munde were booed away by crowd.
Among those who addressed the crowd included actor Om Puri and self-proclaimed management guru Arindam Chaudhuri. Puri’s verbal assault prompted volunteers to escort him off the podium. “I feel ashamed when an IAS or IPS salutes a gawar neta. There are more than 50% gawar netas. There should be an ‘aptitude test’ for ticket aspirants,” he said.
Social activist Medha Patkar and political analyst Yogender Yadav also addressed the crowd. Tasleema Nasreen, Bangladeshi writer in exile, too was spotted. Kiran Bedi indulged in some theatrics as she vent her ire on an MP, who had come to the venue. “They say one thing inside Parliament and another thing outside.”
Aamir Khan at Ramlila Ground
Bollywood star Aamir Khan, who has supported Anna Hazare’s movement from Day 1, is expected to reach Ramlila Maidan on Saturday at 3pm.
“He will break his roza (fast) with other supporters here,” an announcement was made on Friday.
Dwindling crowd on weekdays was becoming a cause of concern for team Anna. Aamir’s appearance will give the boost to Anna’s movement. “We expect at least a crowd of 50,000-60,000 on Saturday,” said a senior police officer.
Aamir is said to be the brain behind Anna’s asking people to protest outside MPs’ homes and reportedly wrote to the PM, urging him to give in to Hazare’s demands. rajat arora