Day 2 sees low turnout

The venue of chain hunger strike on the banks of Mutha witnessed a low turnout yesterday. And whatever little enthusiasm that remained in the pandal faded after Anna declared withdrawal of his fast at the MMRDA grounds in Mumbai. Soon after the announcement, the curious crowds disappeared and the protest venue wore a deserted look. 

Flagging spirit: A motley crowd at the protest venue on the banks of 
Mutha in the city yesterday. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

There were no students present in the agitation and the organisers announced that the 'Occupy Shaniwar Wada', scheduled at the historic place, was cancelled following the withdrawal of Anna's fast. "I was thrilled to be part of the Jail Bharo Agitation. It is really sad that it has been postponed," said Anup Joshi, a college student who had registered online. 

"We are trying to inform each and every online participant by sending SMS or emails that the jail bharo agitation has been postponed," said Deepak Bharadia, city chief coordinator, India Against Corruption. (IAC). 

He said that the members of the Parliament were forced to discuss the Lokpal Bill till Tuesday midnight only because of the pressure mounted by Anna's supporters. "This is not our defeat but a victory," Bharadia added. Though the turnout of students were low because of the Christmas vacation, the working class had taken leave from office and was present in huge numbers, said the coordinator. 

The city IAC unit had expected a total expenditure of Rs 3.5 lakh for six days at the Mutha river pandal and had paid a deposit of Rs 43,000. "The district collector had given permission for the venue, but now we shall try and 
take the money back if it is refundable. We are positive that the government will support us this time," said Sandeep Khardekar, city coordinator, IAC. 

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