Social activist Anna Hazare will kick off his nation-wide campaign against corruption from Uttar Pradesh next week. The renowned Gandhian, whose satyagrah compelled the Union government to concede his demand for a Jan Lokpal bill, will renew his movement in a big way from Varanasi, where he is scheduled to arrive along with his comrade-in-arms former top cop Kiran Bedi, right to information activist Arvind Kejriwal, and activist Swami Agnivesh on April 29.
After addressing a public rally in Varanasi the same evening, Anna will move to Sultanpur , where he will address yet another rally the following day. He will culminate his three-day UP tour in Lucknow, where a huge rally has been planned at the Jhule-Lal Park, along the banks of the Gomati river on May 1.
Asked if UP had been chosen as the launching pad by Anna- led 'India Against Corruption' simply because of the rampant corruption at all levels in the state, local IAC organiser Akhilesh Saxena said, "Well, corruption cuts across all states and political parties. So our idea is not to target any single party, but to take on corruption at its roots everywhere."
He added, "Varanasi has been selected as the starting point since it happens to be the most ancient city, and UP because it is the country's most populous state."
Anna will also address a gathering of prominent intellectuals, activists and clerics of different religions at the Hazratganj Cathedral and will have an interaction with the media, a source said.
Strongly refuting that Anna's visit had come in response to Congress leader Digvijay Singh's challenge to him for staging an anti-corruption demonstration in this corruption-ridden state, Saxena said, "Anna's visit to the state was planned well before Singh made that statement; Anna is not guided by what politicians say."