Ramlila ground gets set for Anna Hazare

August 18th, 2011 - 12:37 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) Crowds began swelling at Ramlila ground here Thursday as hundreds of supporters gathered in preparation for Gandhian activist Anna Hazare’s 15-day fast to demand a more effective Lokpal Bill.

“The minute Ramila ground is prepared, Anna will take over. Right now the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) is cleaning the grounds, the stage is being set,” Hazare’s aide Arvind Kejriwal told reporters outside Tihar Jail where the activist is lodged.

He added that Delhi Police had granted Team Anna permission to hold the fast at Ramlila ground for 15 days.

The arrest of the 74-year-old ahead of his fast for an effective anti-corruption law fuelled nationwide protests as Hazare refused to come out until he was allowed to carry on his hunger strike without any conditions.

“MCD had received the request from Anna Hazare’s team Aug 5 for a booking from Aug 15 to Aug 31. The civic agency was waiting for the NOC (No Objection Certificate). The ground will be prepared by 12.30 p.m.,” said an official from the civic agency.

Apart from media personnel and cops, Hazare supporters shouting slogans and waving the tricolour thronged Ramlila ground in central Delhi.

“This is the people’s battle against corruption. And Anna will win it on our behalf, we are with him,” said an enthusiastic Kulbir Singh.

While people joined in from various parts of the city, many who had been supporting the campaign from Tihar Jail headed to Ramlila ground.

“I have been outside Tihar since the last two days, and now my support is with Anna-ji at Ramlila ground also,” said another supporter, wearing a ‘Me Anna Hazare’ cap like many others.

The crowds chanted “Vande Mataram” in unison as they marched towards the ground in central Delhi that was also the site of yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s fast in June.

Hazare had planned to begin his fast for a stronger anti-corruption Lokpal Bill from the J.P. Park in the ITO area Tuesday. However, Delhi Police imposed certain conditions before allowing the protest. Hazare refused to sign the undertaking, following which the police detained him and his other team members Tuesday.

He was arrested and subsequently released but refused to leave the jail.

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