Even a rain-washed weekday could not take the crowd away from Ramlila Ground in central Delhi. Around 25,000 protesters gathered in support of the anti-graft crusade as Anna Hazare observed his eighth day of fast on Tuesday.
With concern for his health growing and as news of the government doctors advising to put the 73-year-old on glucose drip did the rounds, Hazare finally said he would have none of it. But earlier in the day, Hazare broke his day-and-a-half-long silence and took the mike to address certain concerns about his supporters.
“Do not consume alcohol and come to the protests,” said Hazare.
"Some people are coming to the protest site after consuming alcohol and getting into fights...if we do something wrong, our protest will be crushed," he warned.
To a loud cheer, he said protesters should peacefully gherao residences of MPs in thousands if the government did not
pass a strong Lokpal Bill by August 30.
"We have to think about the next course of action. We should not sit here. Now only 25-30 people are sitting on dharnas outside MPs' residences. After August 30, thousands should sit in front of the houses of MPs. Only then will there be an impact,” he said.
Even activist Arvind Kejriwal urged protesters not to break the law and maintain "decorum" of the movement.
"We have seen some people breaking traffic rules while protesting. I request everybody to obey the law and protest peacefully and responsibly," he said.
Meanwhile, students from Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia took out a protest march from India Gate to the Ramlila Ground. So far, almost 30,000 DU students have voluntarily expressed solidarity with the movement while more are expected to join.
By evening, the footfall had once again increased despite the rain. People started turning up at Ramlila Ground after finishing their day’s jobs.
"It is not possible for people to come here every day. But I have managed to come here and the same is the case with many others too,” said Himanshu Sharma, a sales executive from Gurgaon.
The decibel levels at the site were also high as usual despite the fact that half the ground had turned into a bed of muck once again.