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As Anna fasts, village expresses solidarity

Anti-graft crusader sits on daylong dharna in Delhi, people in Ralegansiddhi stage rally, observe fast in support of 74-year-old Gandhian's Jan Lokpal stir

As Anna Hazare sat on a daylong fast demanding an effective Lokpal Bill at Jantar Mantar yesterday, the domino effect of the Delhi dharna could be seen in across the country, particularly in the corruption crusader's village, Ralegansiddhi, and the city.


Standing By Anna's side: People in Ralegansiddhi take out a rally to 
express solidarity with Anna Hazare's daylong fast at Jantar Mantar in 
Delhi yesterday. Pic/Ganesh Bhosale 

This time Hazare is accompanied by his PA Suresh Pathare only. So most of his close aides, who stayed back in the villages, made sure that the echo of the Jantar Mantar protest could be heard loud and clear in every nook and corner of the village. 

If the villagers organised a prabhat pheri in the morning, they observed a hunger strike during the day to express solidarity with the 74-year-old Gandhian. 

Health woes
Sarpanch Jaisingh Mahpari, one of the close aides of Anna, said, "We are worried about Anna's health as he has been suffering from lumbar spondylosis. It is only for his strong will power and determination that he has made it to Delhi." 

Another aide Sanjay Pathade, a schoolteacher, said, "Over a thousand students at Ralegansiddhi have participated in the rally. Almost every wall in the village dons a poster keeping people abreast about Hazare's Janlokpal Bill demands."

In Pune, B B Somani, the conveyor of India Against Corruption, city branch, also organised an agitation at Bal Gandharva Chowk. More than 600 people, including RTI activists Jugal Rathi, R R Phondage, Aniket Deshmukh and Krishna Yadav, participated.

Anna Hazare Udyan
As the stage was being set for Annalila, version III, in Delhi, Shiv Sena youth leader Aditya Thackeray yesterday inaugurated a garden named Anna Hazare Udyan at Wadgaon Sheri in the city, apparently to keep the Gandhian in good humour. The idea was floated by local corporators so that people get inspiration from Hazare's campaign and learn to fight for a social cause. 

Former IPS officer criticises Anna
Former IPS officer Suresh Khopade criticised Anna's agitation. "There are already enough efficient laws in the Constitution. Appointing a Lokayukta will create another babu. There will be more corruption as they get more powers. Hazare should stick to his original movement of developing ideal villages in rural India," said Khopade.

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