Fasting Hazare @ Ralegan Siddhi, near Pune: CM fails to persuade
The Devendra Fadnavis government in the state accelerated its efforts to convince social activist Anna Hazare of giving up his indefinite fast as his health began to deteriorate on the fifth day of the strike on Sunday.
Fadnavis spoke to Hazare over the phone urging him to give up his fast, though the 81-year-old crusader was adamant on going ahead. Hazare also threatened to return his Padma Vibhushan award if the government does not consider his demands about the appointment of Lokpal, strengthening Lokayukta and higher rates for farmers’ produce.
Girish Mahajan, a minister in Fadnavis government, who visited Ralegan Siddhi, the native place of Hazare, said the chief minister has accepted Hazare’s demand about constituting a joint committee to make amendments in 1971 Lokayukta Act, which Hazare wants to strengthen.
Mahajan held closed-door talks with Hazare for an hour and urged him to break his fast claiming that most of the demands by the crusader are either fulfilled or under consideration.
“Appointment of Lokpal and Lokayukta are two key demands of Hazare. Today, even the chief minister spoke to Hazare and accepted his demand of a Lokayukta,” said Mahajan after the meeting. The minister said he will once against visit Ralegan Siddhi on Monday, where Hazare has undertaken the fast.
Meanwhile, Hazare’s weight went down by four kilograms while his blood pressure reported rise throughout the day, according to doctors treating him.
Congress member and opposition leader in state assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil also visited Anna Hazare at Ralegan Siddhi and extended his support to the strike. Vikhe Patil said, “Last time, BJP got benefits from Anna’s strike but the saffron party has forgotten the crusader today.”
Earlier in March 2018, Hazare ended his fast at Delhi’s Ramlila ground on the seventh day of the strike after the government assured the crusader that his demands will be considered by the Centre. Hazare has undertaken 12 indefinite strikes calling it a part of his crusade against corruption.
Legal notice against NCP leader
Social activist Anna Hazare on Sunday served a legal notice to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson Nawab Malik, who accused Anna Hazare of taking money from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for sitting on fast. Earlier last week, Malik had said Hazare takes money from advocates and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Responding to Malik’s allegations, Hazare said former should prove his remarks with evidence.
“If a senior leader of some political party (Nawab Malik) says that I have taken money from someone to sit on a hunger strike, then he should explain from where I took the money. I have asked my workers to file a defamation suit against him,” said Hazare.
In the notice sent by Hazare’s counsel advocate Milind Pawar, the NCP spokesperson has been asked to tender an apology, failing which a police case will be filed against him.
After Malik’s remarks, senior NCP leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar expressed regret about the accusations though Hazare refused to budge.