A week after he went on an indefinite hunger strike demanding anti-graft regulations, social activist Anna Hazare on Thursday broke his fast following negotiations with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in Ramlila Maidan in the national capital.
“The people and the government are not different. It is the government’s job to look after the citizens and its country. It needs to ensure that citizens do not get any reason to hold protests,” Hazare told reporters.
Almost seven years after leading an anti-corruption movement which became one of the main reasons for UPA’s debacle, the 80-year-old activist had once again demanded setting up of the Lokpal at Centre and Lokayuktas in states. This time, however, his main target was the Narendra Modi government for failing to deliver. His 2011 agitation had led to the passing of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013, but the Centre is yet to appoint an ombudsman. This time Hazare was also demanding better Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) to farmers to address agrarian distress.
Unlike the last time, when Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav came together under Hazare’s leadership and a new party, the Aam Aadmi Party, was born, there were no high-profile visitors this year. While farmers of the Bharatiya Kisan Union made up a large number of the crowd, the young and the urban were largely missing, except perhaps for a group of youngsters from Umang theatre in Burari. Leaders of various unions took to the stage to list their demands.