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Rediff.com  » News » With your permission, I will end my fast: Anna Hazare

With your permission, I will end my fast: Anna Hazare

Last updated on: August 27, 2011 22:53 IST

Anna to end fast at 10 am on Sunday

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Toral Varia and Sahim Salim report from Ramlila Maidan, where Anna Hazare's supporters are celebrating his "half-victory"

Around 8 pm on Saturday, the news of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee passing the resolution about a strong Lokpal Bill started trickling in amongst the supporters of Anna Hazare at Ramlila Maidan, creating a sense of eager anticipation.

The usually available-for-media volunteers were also huddled backstage, monitoring minute to minute updates on the television set. Kiran Bedi kept going back to her Ipad for the latest news flashes. Finally, at around 8.10 pm, the news was formally communicated to Team Anna over the phone personally by Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

Within the next ten minutes, core committee members of Team Anna surrounded the 74-year-old Gandhian to apprise him about the sequence of events and chart out a strategy for the announcement of the formal withdrawal of fast.


Image: Anna Hazare
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com
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'We all pray for your health'

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Around 9 pm, Team Anna's wait ended with the arrival of Congress leaders Vilasrao Deshmukh, Vilas Baburao Mutemwar and Sandeep Dikshit, who were welcomed into the maidan through VIP gate number 1.

Amidst a cacophony of slogans, cheers, claps, music and fireworks, Deshmukh stood next to Anna Hazare and some of his team members to read out the prime minister's letter.

Specifically addressing Hazare, Deshmukh appealed, "I hope you will be happy to learn that both Houses have passed a resolution acceding to all three of your demands. I hope in light of these developments you will end your fast and get healthy again. We all pray for your health."

Deshmukh then formally handed over the letter and the copy of the resolution to Hazare, making for a perfect photo-op for the scores of media representatives present there. 


Image: At Ramlila Maidan
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com
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'This is a half-victory'

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Calling it a half victory, Hazare congratulated all the members of parliament who had unanimously passed the resolution.

"Yeh aadhi jeet hai. Poori jeet abhi baaki hai. Lekin Jan Lokpal abhi poora banana baaki hai. Main kal subah das baje apnaa anshan todunga lekin woh bhi aapki anumati se (A complete victory is still pending. We still have to pass the Jan Lokpal bill. I will end my fast at 10 am tomorrow, but only with your permission)," he said to a cheering crowd of thousands of supporters.

Hazare also added that it is a victory of the people and the civil society. Acknowledging the role of the media, he extended his gratitude to the media contingent that has been painstakingly camping at Ramlila Maidan.

But more importantly, he appealed to the people involved in the movement to celebrate this victory with the non-violent attitude that has been largely displayed so far.


Image: Anna Hazare
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com
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Hazare's supporters celebrate with 'jana gana mana'

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He said, "Jaise kathinaiyon ka saamna karna aasan nai hai, waise jeet ka jashn manana bhi asaan nahi hai. Hum sab shaantipoorvak tarikey se jeet ka jasahn manayenge (It is not easy to face hardships and it is not easy to celebrate victory. We will all celebrate victory in a peaceful manner)."

On the stage, the mood was jubilant with his aide Medha Patkar touching Hazare's feet and Kiran Bedi hugging and congratulating the activist. There were hugs all around as core committee members congratulated each other for the "victory of the people."

Minutes after congratulations were exchanged, Arvind Kejrewal stepped forward and appealed to the people to join Team Anna in singing the National Anthem. With Hazare taking the lead, the huge Ramlila Maidan resonated with jana gana mana.


Image: Kiran Bedi
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com
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'This is part betrayal'

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Hazare's supporters outside Ramlila Maidan were seen celebrating Hazare's victory by bursting fireworks and dancing to the beats of dhols while women inside Ramlila maidan sang songs in praise of Hazare. One jubilant protestor said, "I have no words to explain (this moment). If it's Anna's victory, it's my victory too. I feel that we have won a battle."

According to another supporter, Hazare was a "modern day satyagrahi who has shown the people of India the right path and the right way to achieve success."

Reacting to the resolution, Medha Patkar said, "I would certainly say this is part betrayal and this is something that should not have ideally happened. The Congress should have passed the resolution under Section 184. However, I am happy that Parliament at least had to take cognisance on the issue of corruption. If they have unanimously accepted our three points then I would call this a people's victory. I would put it as a win-win situation. It is the victory of people's power".


Image: Anna Hazare with Medha Patkar
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com
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'Let us celebrate this'

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Once a core team member of the Team Anna and a prominent civil society activist in his own right, Swami Agnivesh appeared guarded in his reactions.

He said, "I think let us celebrate this. This is much more than what a formal resolution could have achieved. So instead of trying to find fault with what has happened and what has not happened, Anna should be congratulated for galvanising a huge movement."

Former news anchor Shazia Alwi, a member of Team Anna's core committee, was all smiles and said, "We congratulated each other. We were closely monitoring the debate; it was a different picture back stage."

As news of breakthroughs and breakdowns poured in, the mood at Ramlila maidan kept fluctuating. The gathering was held enthralled by the appearances of singer Sonu Nigam, actor Aamir Khan and director Raj Kumar Hirani, who had come to lend their support to Hazare's cause.


Image: Swami Agnivesh

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