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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Centre and state government step in, but Anna Hazare refuses to end hunger strike

The 81-year-old has been on a hunger strike since January 30, demanding appointments of Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in Maharashtra, and resolution of farmers’ issue.

india Updated: Feb 05, 2019 11:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Union minister of state Subhash Bhamre met activist Anna Hazare at Ralegan Siddhi in Pune, on Monday, February 4, 2019,t o dissuade him from continuing with his hunger strike.
Union minister of state Subhash Bhamre met activist Anna Hazare at Ralegan Siddhi in Pune, on Monday, February 4, 2019,t o dissuade him from continuing with his hunger strike. (HT Photo )
         

Social activist Anna Hazare refused to end his indefinite hunger strike at Ralegan Siddhi, after meetings with representatives of the Central and state governments on Monday, the sixth day of his agitation.

The 81-year-old has been on a hunger strike since January 30, demanding appointments of Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in Maharashtra, and resolution of farmers’ issue.

While the government seemed confident that Hazare will call-off the strike on Tuesday, the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) threw their weight behind the anti-corruption crusader and slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

On Monday, Union minister of state (MoS) for defence Dr Subhash Bhamre and state water conservation minister Girish Mahajan called on Hazare, requesting him to end the agitation. Bhamre said the government has given Hazare a written assurance about his demands. “…I am sure he will call-off the agitation by Tuesday,” Bhamre said.

Fadnavis said that the Centre and state have responded positively to Hazare’s demands. “As per his demands, we have appointed a joint committee for the implementation of Lokayuktas in state,” said the chief minister. “Similarly, the Centre has given its assurance in writing. I am sure he will end the fast at the earliest, honouring the wish of the people of Maharashtra.”

Hazare, however, categorically said he does not want assurances, but wants his demands to be met.

“State government has been claiming that 90% of my demands have been agreed with. Am I insane to continue the fast if 90% of the demands are met?” said Hazare. “These are the same political people who fought with me for the cause, benefited from my agitation and came to power. Now, they have conveniently opted to keep quiet on Lokpal. I will continue my fast until all demands are met.”

The Shiv Sena, meanwhile, came out in support of Hazare and said the “government should not play with the life of an octogenarian”. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, in a statement, said that instead of a fast, Hazare should lead an agitation against corruption, and his party would support that wholeheartedly.

MNS chief Raj Thackeray, too, called on Hazare on Monday to extend his support to the agitation. After the meeting, Raj said Hazare should give up his fast and instead “bury the BJP government”.

“I told him not to risk his life for these people...”

The chief minister, in response to the Sena’s support, took a dig at them. “Hazare should understand that some politicians are using him for their political gain. The people who were criticising him a few years ago are now extending support to him… for their political gains. I am sure Annaji will not fall prey to these tactics,” said Fadnavis.