READ: Terms that Team Anna agreed to
Social Activist Anna Hazare and his team have signed an agreement with the government to abide by certain conditions on the basis of which they will go ahead with the fast at Ramlila Grounds starting from Friday. Renu Mittal reports.
However, these conditions are signed routinely by organisers everywhere in country who arrange demonstrations on maidans and road shows.
Sources say that activist Swami Agnivesh played a role in bringing about this agreement, and the government is also using the back channel route to open a further line of communication with Hazare.
A Maharashtra Non-Governmental Organisation has also been used for that purpose.
The conditions to which they have agreed are:
No one will be allowed to loiter on the roads outside the Ramlila Grounds.
The roads will not be blocked and traffic will not be allowed to be stopped.
There will no traffic jams in the areas.
No one will be allowed to carry lathis or arms inside the ramlila grounds.
No public property will be destroyed.
The ground lighting, mobile toilets and first aid will all be at the expense of Team Anna.
The capacity of Ramlila grounds is 25,000 people, which is not negotiatiable.
There will be health checkups for Hazare three times a day, and if the doctor feels his condition is deteriorating, he would be immediately shifted to the hospital.
While Hazare's close aide Kiran Bedi has said that the fast would go on only till Hazare's health permits, Arvind Kejriwal wants it to be indefinite.Click NEXT to read further
Image: The Tihar Jail
Kejriwal didn't sign the undertaking: Sources
Interestingly, while members of Anna's team including Kiran Bedi, the Bhushans and others have signed on the undertaking, sources say that Kejriwal has not signed.
It is learnt that while the others were agreeable to the fast being carried out for 10 days, he had put his foot down and said it should be indefinite.
The permission has been given till September 2 since the Ramlila Ground is booked after that for Ramlila which is held there every year.
On the actual Lokpal Bill, Hazare and company have let it be known to the government that if they give an undertaking to bring the judicial accountability bill to Parliament soon and pass it, then the civil rights activists would drop the demand to include the judiciary in the bill.
Highly-placed sources say that some negotiations are going on over the clause to include the prime minister. The government may be agreeable to that proposal with certain conditions, though that is still in the debating stage and the issue has not yet been finalised.
Sources in the government say that keeping in mind Hazare's age and health issues, they do not expect it to go on for too long, and are prepared to transfer him to hospital, if the need arises.
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Image: A file photograph of Arvind Kejriwal
'The entire movement is backed by the RSS'
There is a great deal of concern in both the government and the Congress over the manner in which the entire Hazare episode has been handled with both senior ministers in the government and party functionaries admitting that they were absolutely clueless about his arrest or that he would be sent to Tihar jail.
No one is willing to disclose as to who was monitoring the operation from the government side.
While the government is nervous and admits they cannot afford anything to happen to Hazare, senior leaders admit there is a 'positive fallout' of the entire episode now, that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is now openly backing Team Anna and the entire fight against corruption.
Congress has been alleging the same since many months.
In her Parliament speech, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj said that the entire movement was being backed by the RSS.
She said the people should not be surprised since all the members of Parliament of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, as well as seven chief ministers in the country and their governments owe allegiance to the RSS which has support all over the country.Congress leaders say that because of the involvement of the RSS, the Muslim, Dalit, and backward communities are keeping away from being associated with Hazare's movement, and the composition of his core team clearly reflects that there is no involvement of these sections in the fight against corruption.
Image: BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj