Shiv Sena extends support to Anna Hazare; asks him to end hunger strike, lead agitation
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray extended support to social activist and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Sunday, saying he should end his indefinite hunger strike launched on January 30.
In a statement, Thackeray said, “At present, people in the country have been given anaesthesia and the need is to bring them out of this situation. Hazare should give up his fast and lead an agitation over his demands, and I assure Shiv Sena’s support wherever possible.”
Thackeray also said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Maharashtra government should “not play with his [Hazare’s] life” and should intervene to get Hazare to end his hunger strike.
Shiv Sena’s support to Hazare raised several eyebrows in political circles as Hazare had campaigned against the party’s candidates in 2011 and had also protested against its ministers during the Sena-BJP rule in the late 1990s.
During the ‘India Against Corruption’ movement in 2011, Thackeray had said opposition parties should unite against the then ruling Congress party rather than following just “one man” Hazare.
However, expressing concern about the deteriorating health of the octogenarian, Thackeray said that Hazare should take to the streets in his fight against corruption to awaken the people, instead of giving up his life by fasting.
Under the banner of ‘Jan Andolan Satyagraha’, the 81-year-old Gandhian activist launched his indefinite hunger strike on January 30 at his village Ralegan-Siddhi in Ahmednagar district to demand the setting up of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states as the Narendra Modi government “had failed” to set up the anti-corruption bodies.
In a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Thackeray said the central government did not “take note” of activist GD Agrawal’s protest over his demand to clean river Ganga.
Agrawal died of a heart attack in October 2018 after he was on a hunger strike for over 111 days in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. “The government did not take note of the situation and let professor Agrawal die,” Thackeray said.
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