Team Anna was left red-faced on Friday when the Bombay high court said what was “satyagraha” for it could be a “nuisance” for others.
Worse, in a face-saving move later, Anna Hazare publicly denounced his team's decision to move court — and get snubbed in the process — as “wrong”, calling his followers “overenthusiastic”.Team Anna had sought an exemption or discount on the rental for the Bandra-Kurla Complex grounds in Mumbai to stage a three-day protest against the lokpal bill from December 27.
The court refused to direct the state government and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to grant an exemption. "We can't allow parallel canvassing when Parliament is seized with debate on the (lokpal) bill. You can propagate the bill sitting at home," said justice PB Majumdar. "Is public debate permissible at this stage?"
"We are a democratic setup. We have elected a government. Wouldn't your agitation interfere in the functioning of Parliament?" he asked.
The court also refused to direct the government to make more space available on Azad Maidan. Earlier, Hazare’s NGO, India Against Corruption (IAC), requested for permission to use Azad Maidan for the stir. On Friday, the state sports department refused permission, as opening it up would ruin the 22 cricket pitches there.
Now, the IAC will have to pay the rental for the Bandra-Kurla Complex grounds. “My fast will happen at the MMRDA grounds. We will get concession because we will apply through a registered trust or NGO,” Hazare said in Ralegan Siddhi.
“A number of people have volunteered to extend financial help for the agitation. We will check their credentials before accepting money through cheques and demand drafts,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)