Anna Hazare and the government took potshots at each other on the second day of the veteran activist’s indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar on Monday, making it clear that both sides were not interested in any dialogue this time.
Hazare appeared happy with the crowd turnout on the first working day after people thronged his fast venue over the weekend, which also saw the indefinite fast of his colleagues — Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai enter into the sixth day.
“The way this wave of protest against corruption is building up in the country, I get a feeling that this government will have to bring a strong Lokpal Bill or else it will have to go,” Hazare said.
From the government side, I&B minister Ambika Soni charged Team Anna with resorting to tactics of blackmail.
“Can any bill be passed in four days? They are resorting to plain blackmail,” she said.
“Do you think it beholds us to write ‘chor’ (thief) outside the PM’s residence? Satellite transmits those images not only in New Delhi or Mumbai, but across the globe,” Soni said.
“I don’t think they enhance the cause of fighting corruption,” she said. The Congress appealed to Team Anna to maintain self-restraint and not get swayed by emotions.
During the day, Team Anna appeared to be speaking in different voices over the issue of Baba Ramdev meeting the Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.
On Sunday, Team Anna member Sanjay Singh had slammed Ramdev saying they considered Modi as a “murderer of humanity.”
His colleagues, Kumar Vishwas and Kiran Bedi appeared to have taken a soft approach on Monday.
“It is not our business who Ramdev meets,” he said. Bedi also spoke in similar vein.
Kejirwal, however, struck a different note. “Some people talk about him (Modi) as if he is a development mascot, but can he be seen as a future of the country ,” he asked.