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Despite illness, Anna promises presence in Lucknow rally

Last updated on: April 28, 2011 15:19 IST

Social activist and Gandhian Anna Hazare has assured local organisers that he would try to fly down to Lucknow for the proposed rally at Jhule Lal Park along the banks of the Gomati river on May 1. Hazare was admitted to a Pune hospital after he complained of excruciating pain in the knees on April 26.

Encouraged by his communication, organisers are all set to ensure success of the rally, even if the local administration denies permission. This is in the light of a new government order issued on Wednesday, whereby the process has been made cumbersome and difficult.

In a move that took everyone by surprise, the state government on Wednesday afternoon had issued a government order, making the procedure for seeking permission to stage a demonstration or 'dharna' extremely stringent 

"Permission or no permission, we will go ahead with the rally and other programmes," said India Against Corruption local organiser and coordinator R K Agrawal at a press conference.

He said, "Our mission is against corruption in general, and we have no intention to target any individual or any particular political party or the government."

Asked if the rally and other programmes would be held even if Hazare doesn't turn up, Agrawal said, "Annaji has assured us that he would be here. In case his doctors don't allow him to travel, the programme would be addressed by his close associates Arvind Kejriwal and Swami Agnivesh."

Agrawal urged all Hazare supporters to pray for his speedy recovery so that he can keep his date with the capital city of India's most populous state.

Even as Hazare's visit to Varanasi and Sultanpur stood cancelled, he is expected to arrive in Lucknow on May 1. He would begin his day with an interaction with intellectuals and religious scholars and clerics at the St Francis' College auditorium 10 am. He would then follow it up by a press conference at the adjoining Cathedral School hall at 12.30 pm.

Another meeting is scheduled with India Against Corruption coordinators and representatives of trade unions, associations and non-governmental organisations at the City Montessori School auditorium at 3 pm. The programme will culminate at the Jhule Lal Park where a rally is scheduled at 5 pm.

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow