Team Anna launched its election campaign in UP from union steel minister Beni Prasad Verma's stronghold Barabanki on Thursday, responding to his challenge last month to hold a rally in the state.
Enthused by the “more than expected” turnout of nearly 3,000 people, including school children, the supporting cast of social activist Anna Hazare termed it people’s reply to the Congress leader’s challenge.
The team, led by Kiran Bedi, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai, however, asserted that the focus of the campaign was to ensure a strong lokpal and not target any particular political party.
Addressing the meeting at Fatehpur tehsil of the district, 30 km east of Lucknow, Bedi appealed to the people to use the voice of conscience while voting.
She also distributed forms for seeking undertakings from politicians and their workers before elections. “In case they do not fulfil the promises, lodge mass complaints against them under section 420 (the IPC section for cheating).”
Earlier, she said in Lucknow, “The main focus will be to generate awareness among voters to keep corrupt people at bay.”
At the meeting, Sisodia ridiculed sops such as free laptops, saying electricity supply and proper sanitation was still a dream in many areas.
Taking on Verma, Rai said, “He challenged us. We are holding the rally in his district. If politicians prevent us from holding rallies in areas without corruption, we will abide, but not stop generating awareness among people.”
Team Anna also held a rally in Gonda, Verma’s Lok Sabha constituency. Incidentally, Verma organised a rally in another part of the district.