Team Anna launches fast, targets Pranab, PM (Roundup)July 25th, 2012 - 10:43 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) Kicking off an indefinite fast, Team Anna members Wednesday renewed their push for a stringent Jan Lokpal bill and upped the ante by hurling corruption charges against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, now President Pranab Mukherjee and key ministers in the UPA government.
The fast is led by Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal while Anna Hazare, the septuagenarian social activist who fired the country’s imagination a year ago on an anti-corruption plank, said he would join the hunger strike from July 29 if the government failed to take immediate steps to check corruption in high places.
Hazare, along with Kejriwal and two other members Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai, paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat before beginning the protest. Team Anna has got permission to fast at Jantar Mantar till Aug 8, the day parliament’s monsoon session is expected to begin.
“We are demanding a strict Lokpal bill but this government has betrayed us several times,” Hazare told reporters before the protest began in the heart of the capital.
The Team Anna show attracted around 2,000 people, but the enthusiasm and fever of the anti-corruption crusade of last year was missing.
This did not dampen the spirits of the activists who aggressively raised the pitch for ridding India of corruption and targeted some of the most powerful in the country.
They did not even spare Mukherjee, who was sworn-in as the country’s 13th president in the morning, for his alleged role in corruption during his tenure as defence and finance minister.
Hundreds of people, including schoolchildren and retired government officials, assembled at Jantar Mantar to pledge their support for Hazare and his cause.
Mukherjee was one of the 15 cabinet ministers named by the Team Anna for being involved in corruption.
The podium had pictures of all the tainted cabinet ministers while a cloth covered Mukherjee’s image.
“We have given evidence against Mukherjee to Manmohan Singh but no action was taken. Being the president, he now has immunity against any investigation, so we have covered his face,” said Kejriwal.
Kejriwal reiterated charges that the prime minister was directly responsible for giving away coal blocks to unknown companies at throwaway prices between 2006 and 2009 when he headed the coal ministry.
Team Anna also attacked Home Minister P. Chidambram, Human Resource Development minister Kapil Sibal and Congress leader Virbhadra Singh for their alleged complicity in corrupt deals.
A ruckus ensued at Jantar Mantar when some youths, claiming to be from Congress students wing, tried to take the podium shouting slogans against the activists.
The youths claimed to belong to the National Students Union of India (NSUI). But the NSUI denied any link with the incident.
“Some members of NSUI tried to enter the stage where Anna Hazare was sitting but were stopped by volunteers,” a member of Team Anna told IANS.
The Congress accused Team Anna of trying to create a controversy by blaming NSUI.
“It is an unfounded allegation not based on facts. They are trying to create a controversy by naming the NSUI,” said Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy.
India against Corruption, which is pearheading the campaign, said its activists were not allowed to hold peaceful protests and were detained in many parts of the country including Kolkata, Pune and Mumbai.
- Team Anna begins indefinite fast for a stringent Lokpal (Second Lead) - Jul 25, 2012
- Youths protest at Team Anna fast, claim to be from NSUI (Lead) - Jul 25, 2012
- NSUI protests at Team Anna fast venue - Jul 25, 2012
- Team Anna creating controversy by naming NSUI: Congress - Jul 25, 2012
- Bring Lokpal or go, Anna tells UPA (Lead) - Jul 30, 2012
- Police battle anti-graft protesters outside PM's house, Hazare for second freedom movement (Intro Roundup) - Aug 27, 2012
- Hazare begins fast, demands passage of Jan Lokpal bill (Evening Lead) - Jul 29, 2012
- Kejriwal, Rai to continue fast despite failing health (Lead) - Jul 31, 2012
- Bring Lokpal or go, Anna tells UPA (Second Lead) - Jul 30, 2012
- No talks if fasting protesters forcefully removed: Anna Hazare (Second Lead) - Aug 01, 2012
- Anna slams government, Kejriwal to carry on fast (Second Lead) - Jul 31, 2012
- MPs outraged over Team Anna's remarks, Lok Sabha adjourned (Second Lead) - Mar 26, 2012
- Government cheated us: Hazare (Lead) - Jul 28, 2012
- Ralegan-Siddhi villagers back Hazare - Jul 29, 2012
- Will continue protest outside PM residence: Kejriwal (Second Lead) - Aug 26, 2012
Tags: 13th president, anna hazare, arvind kejriwal, cabinet ministers, corruption charges, finance minister, gopal rai, hunger strike, mahatma gandhi, manmohan, manmohan singh, mantar, monsoon session, pranab mukherjee, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, rajghat, schoolchildren, septuagenarian, social activist