Activist Kisan Baburao, better known as Anna Hazare, has ended his fast on Tuesday in his crusade for a corruption-free India. He had been protesting against the delay in the appointment of a Lokpal at the Centre and the passage of the Lokayukta Act in Maharashtra for a week.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the state government has accepted almost all of Hazare’s demands. “We have agreed to almost all of his demands, especially the one related to Lokayukta and formation of a joint committee,” Fadnavis told reporters on Monday, a day before he visited Hazare to hold prolonged talks.
The two are believed to have reached a compatible and concrete conclusion, leading to the suspension of Hazare’s fast-unto-death. “I have decided to call off my fast after satisfactory talks with Fadnavis and other ministers,” he told reporters late Tuesday.
Here’s what happened
Hazare began an indefinite hunger strike on January 30 in Ralegan Siddhi, a village in the state’s Ahmednagar district. He railed heavily against the non-fulfillment of assurances, made to him both by the Centre and the state government, concerning the appointment of an ombudsman as an anti-corruption watchdog and the passage of the Lokayukta Act in Maharashtra.
On Monday the social activist claimed that he had been “used by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)” to win the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. “Yes. The BJP used me in 2014. Everybody knows that it was my agitation for Lokpal that catapulted the BJP and also the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to power. Now I have lost all regards for them,” Hazare told the media.
Hazare’s fight drew solidarity from all quarters, but despite failing health and multiple requests to call the fast off, he maintained the momentum of his crusade.
Doctors said he has lost around 4.3 kg weight over his week-long fast.
Reasons for revival
Speaking to Mirror Now, Hazare, who had launched the unprecedented anti-corruption movement in 2011, severely criticised the Narendra Modi government for failing to actively curb endemic political corruption during its five-year regime, despite its poll promises to do so.
He also called Modi out in particular, for failing to resolve the agrarian crisis, which is particularly acute in India’s rural heartland states, including Maharashtra.
Claiming that the central government is misleading the masses and leading the nation to autocracy, Hazare further condemned the BJP-led state government too, for lying for the past four years. “For how long will the lies continue? This government has let down the people of the country. The state government’s claims that 90 percent of my demands have been conceded are also false,” he had said just days before.
What are Hazare’s demands?
Hazare has been demanding the immediate appointment of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to compensate for the lack of statutory anti-corruption watchdogs, ever since the Lokpal Act passed in 2013.
In the wake of mounting agitation by farmers across the country, Hazare has sought the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations on ways to address agrarian distress. He has also sought tighter legislative and electoral reforms to end corruption.
Assessing the impact of Hazare’s activism
The massive anti-corruption movement in 2011 led by Hazare had
Most importantly, back then, his fast-unto-death had managed to call attention to the large-scale embezzlement of public funds under the UPA government, turning it into a key poll
On Monday, Hazare claimed that senior BJP leaders like Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, who once vehemently backed his Lokpal demands in p
Who all came to Ralegan Siddhi?
Activists and political figures visited the 81-year-old anti-corruption crusader at the site of his most recent protest. Besides Fadnavis, Union ministers Radha Mohan Singh and Subhash Bhamre, state minister Girish Mahajan and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray were among the few political leaders who met Hazare at Ralegan Siddhi.
Thackeray visited him on Monday, urging Hazare to give up his hunger strike and to not sacrifice his life for the “useless” government.
“You should quit the fast and we will jointly tour the state and bury this government. My party is extending support to Anna’s cause,” the MNS chief said.
Thackeray also accused Modi of “cheating” the nation and not following his party’s own poll manifesto. Quoting Modi’s tweets and speeches from the
He also expressed surprise at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s absence from Hazare’s protest site. In 2011, Kejriwal had played a key role in Hazare’s agitation. “The entire country got to know
NDA ally and SShiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, whose party props up the BJP government in Maharashtra, had on Sunday extended his support to Hazare as well, urging him to emulate socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan and lead an agitation against corruption.
Hazare had earlier warned that if the Modi government did not
Noted water conservationist Rajendra Singh also met the social activist on Monday, asking him to give up the fast before harkening back to another water activist GD Agrawal, whose hunger strike for cleaning the Ganga last year went unnoticed by the central government, ending in vain with his demise.
The central government will play the same “game,” he said, after discussing issues plaguing the farmers and “flaws” in the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013, with social activists gathered in Ralegan Sindhi. Singh also notified that some NGOs would also be joining Hazare’s protest in a day or two, as everybody has
A close aide to the agitating activist said, “If Fadnavis proposes something concrete, then only is there hope for a solution.” On Monday, the CM announced he would ensure all his demands are met, appealing to Hazare to call off his fast.
Fadnavis and his delegation of Union and state ministers reached the venue of protest Tuesday afternoon and held talks with Hazare and gave him his personal assurance, PTI reported. The process of appointing Lokpal will be initiated soon, Fadnavis told the press.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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