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Anna aides didn't want fast to go on

mumbai Updated: Aug 26, 2011 00:59 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times
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Close supporters of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare had told him "point blank" to discontinue the fast and not stretch it any further but his associates in Delhi were not willing to compromise in any way in their negotiations with the government.

Sources in the government, who have been in touch with Hazare's supporters and the team that went to meet him in Delhi indicated that the duo - former IPS official Kiran Bedi and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal - were the main reason that the agitation had stretched even after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to Hazare, requesting him to end his fast.

"His close supporters from his village and the state had told him to end the fast following the Prime Minister's letter and not stretch it beyond a point. Some of us who know him had told his supporters that he should not sully his image by breaking democratic procedures," said a senior official, on condition of anonymity.

Officials, who have handled Hazare's agitations in the state in the past, said that they thought some of the language used by Anna was coined for him and was quite unlike his usual speeches.

"Languages such as 'Anna may go but the agitation will go on' as seen on the television shows seems provocative and is quite unlike Anna," the official added.

When asked additional chief secretary home UC Sarangi, met Anna at the Ramlila grounds thrice admitted that Hazare sounded more angry than he had ever heard him.

"I even told Anna that I didn't know that you could get so angry. And, he said that sometimes besides Gandhi, one should also invoke Shivaji Maharaj," said Sarangi.

Sarangi had been roped in by the Centre to use his good offices with the anti- corruption activist to find a middle ground between the government and the activists.

He added that he had conveyed to Hazare that one should respect democratic processes because if you break it once then it sets a precedent.

At the time, Team Anna wanted the government to take back the government draft and introduce the Jan Lokpal bill and pass it in this session or amend the government draft to include all their points.

Both these requests would not have been as per Parliamentary procedures.