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'Bedi, Kejriwal pressuring Anna not to give up fast'

Last updated on: December 28, 2011 14:15 IST

'Anna may take a final decision this evening'

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Toral Varia Deshpande in Mumbai

Nikhil Wagle, the editor-in-chief of the Marathi television news channel IBN Lokmat, met Anna Hazare for about ten minutes. Rediff.com's Toral Varia Deshpande spoke to him about that meeting.

 

There is a growing pressure on Anna Hazare to break his fast. You are the first representative of media to meet him. What was his mood like? What was his reaction? For instance, was he able to speak?

 

He was able to speak but he is definitely feeling weak and coughing heavily. His health is deteriorating by the minute. He is aware of the growing pressure and he has now come to stage where at least he is saying that he will think about whether to continue with the fast or not.

 

But clearly, pressure is growing on Anna. The junior workers of India Against Corruption, his aides and supporters, and some villagers are of the opinion that he should discontinue with the fast. However, at the moment Anna is not very keen on breaking the fast, but looks like he may take a final decision on this by today (Wednesday) evening or tomorrow morning. 

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Image: Anna Hazare on fast in Mumbai. (inset) Nikhil Wagle
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/rediff.com

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'Doctors and many IAC workers want Anna to give up his fast'

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You also got a chance to interact with some of the IAC workers and volunteers and also the doctors. What did you gather from those interactions?

Yes I got a chance to also meet some of the key workers of IAC and even the doctors. The doctors have clearly advised him to call of the fast. What is important is that even some of the workers of IAC feel that they have partially won the battle.

 

See no battle can be won overnight and this is something they understand. They feel that if this movement has to continue they need a healthy Anna. However, it is those who run the IAC -- Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, and Manish Sisodia types -- who are building pressure on Anna to not give up the fast. There are clearly two groups in the IAC. 

 

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Image: Anna Hazare with Kiran Bedi, Arivind Kejriwal and Manoj Sisodia
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/rediff.com

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'Anna was clearly disappointed with the turnout'

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Which is surprising, because publicly on this very platform Bedi, Kejriwal and others have appealed to Hazare to give up his fast. Are you saying that behind the scenes it is a different picture?

Totally. They may publicly appeal to Anna to give up his fast. But they are the ones who are creating pressure on him to not suspend his fast. They want to encash on his name for their personal gains. In fact a number of people in the IAC feel that Anna should give up. Villagers from Ralegaon Siddhi (Hazare's hometown) are expected to come in anytime and request Anna to give up his fast.

 

What was Anna's comment on the low turnout this time around?

 

Unfortunately he did not comment on the number of supporters or low turnout but clearly disappointment was written all over his face. I however gave him a clear picture of what's happening on the grounds, what's being discussed in the media etc. 


Image: The turnout at the MMRDA ground
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/rediff.com

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