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HindustanTimes Sat,22 Nov 2014

Anna Hazare’s Lokpal stance echoes govt’s now

Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 17, 2013
First Published: 01:43 IST(17/12/2013) | Last Updated: 09:30 IST(17/12/2013)

Social activist Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement appears to have come a full circle in less than three years with the veteran activist agreeing to drop his insistence on the Jan Lokpal bill and expressing willingness to accept the government’s version.

Not only do Hazare’s differences with his one-time closest lieutenant Arvind Kejriwal seem to have reached a point of no return, his current stance is a far cry from his non-negotiable position in 2011 when his series of fasts virtually brought the government to its knees.

The popular support for his 13-day fast at the Ramlila Grounds in the capital had forced Parliament to function on a Saturday to assure Hazare that all concerns raised by his team would be addressed in the Lokpal bill.

It had all begun at a quiet meeting in November 2010 when the term India Against Corruption was coined at a church in the Gole Market area of the capital at a meeting attended by Kejriwal and other activists working for the Right to Information.

From filing a police complaint against the Commonwealth Games scam to holding a largely attended rally at Jantar Mantar, the momentum was building and it was Kejriwal who had decided to contact Hazare and make him the mascot for the movement.

Soon after, Hazare was a national figure with his six-day fast at Jantar Mantar in April 2011, which forced the government to set-up a joint committee to draft the Lokpal bill with his team.

A day after his Jantar Mantar fast ended, Hazare praised Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to the dismay of his colleagues, prompting Kejriwal to clarify that he was only referring to the functioning of local bodies in Gujarat.

In August 2012, it was in Hazare’s presence that Kejriwal announced the decision to form a political party, but a month later the veteran activist said he had nothing to do with it.

With Kejriwal having made an impressive electoral debut against the odds, Hazare is unlikely to take it lying down.


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