As talks with govt inconclusive, Anna Hazare to continue fast

Ahmednagar/Mumbai | Social activist Anna Hazare, whose indefinite fast for appointment of anti-corruption watchdogs entered the sixth day Monday, has refused to call off his protest saying the government is handling the issue of corruption in a casual manner.

The talks between Union minister Subhash Bhamre, state minister Girish Mahajan and Hazare in the latter’s Ralegan Siddhi village in Ahmed Nagar district, the venue of his fast since January 30, remained inconclusive on Monday.

Hazare has been demanding the appointment of anti-corruption watchdogs at the Centre and in Maharashtra and resolution of farmers’ issues.

The 81-year-old, who has lost 4.25 kg in the last six days, also accused the ruling dispensation of betraying people who voted it to power in 2014.

Bhamre reached the village this evening to talk to Hazare as a representative of the Union government.

Mahajan, who accompanied him, said, “There will be some solution by tomorrow.”

Bhamre said Hazare had some concerns and doubts even after he and Mahajan held talks with him.

The Union minister said he would visit Hazare again tomorrow and try to persuade the Gandhian to withdraw his hunger strike.

However, repeating his demands, the anti-graft crusader said the ministers who called on him on Monday had nothing concrete to offer.

“This insincere attitude of the government is very disappointing,” he told PTI.

“I will not call off my hunger strike till the government initiates concrete steps beyond hollow assurances,” he said.

Hazare accused the Central government of misleading the common people over the draft of Lokpal bill.

“They (Centre) are misleading the people on Lokpal bill. Also, the draft of Lokayukta bill by the Maharashtra government is also misleading, hence I am not accepting it,” he said.

“I was also told that the Supreme Court has given a date to the Centre for submission of its plan for appointing a search committee for Lokpal. The Centre also said that it will abide by the search committee’s report. I will wait for it,” he said.

When asked about how long would he continue with his protest, Hazare said he can easily keep on fasting for another five days. “And I am prepared to sacrifice my life,” he added.

Hazare said he had spoken to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on the Lokayukta issue several times in the past, but nothing has come out of them.

Earlier in the day, about 2600 villagers, including farmers and women, held a demonstration in front of the district collector’s office in Ahmednagar.

A protest was also held at the office of local BJP MP Dilip Gandhi for “inaction”.

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