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Ramlila part II a damp squib

Team Anna supporters blames the chilly weather, holiday season and the absence of Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi for the low turnout

While Delhi and NCR topped the charts -- highest number of registration -- for Anna Hazare's call for Jail Bharo Andolan, the actual turnout for the parallel agitation in the country's capital called by the India Against Corruption (IAC) team at the Ramlila Maidan, was a disappointing one.


Cold response: Anna supporters on the first day of the parallel agitation
at Ramlila Maidan, New Delhi, yesterday. PIC/Rajeev Tyagi


Though Team Anna supporters blamed the winter chill and the absence of Anna, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi in Delhi for the low turnout, they expect the numbers to increase gradually.

The freezing temperature and dense fog not only kept supporters at home, but also delayed the proceedings. The fast that was scheduled for 10 am was delayed by 90 minutes.

Shanti Bhushan, who was supposed to lead the protestors, himself turned up at the ground by 10.30 am. While his son and a Team Anna member, Prashant Bhushan, was explaining to the media about the reasons for the delay.

Blaming the chill for the low turnout, Prashant Bhushan said, "I am sure people will come here as well. It is a cold and a foggy day today. It will take sometime for people to turn up. They will come, don't worry."

Adding to the Team's woes, the LCD screens installed at the ground that were supposed to relay live webcast from Anna's rally in Mumbai and Lokpal debate from Parliament, turned out to be a damp squib, as the transmission never lasted for more than a few minutes.

Holiday season
Other than the freezing weather, some of the volunteers also blamed the winter vacation in colleges and the universities, leading to a low number of student participation. "Every time we have received a massive support from the students of Delhi University, JNU and Jamia, but since the universities and colleges have been closed for the winter and most of the students have gone out of Delhi, the crowd at the Ramlila Maidan was less," said Jai Sharma, an IAC volunteer. Hence, the volunteers are now visiting societies across the capital, informing masses about their demand and requesting their support for the movement.

Poor business
Even the shop owners and rickshaw pullers, who did good business during the earlier protest, are stating that without Anna, there would not be much crowd. "Our income almost doubled during the last protest. Even this time we were expecting to do good business, but Annaji's last minute decision to shift to Mumbai has affected our earnings. There is hardly any crowd at the ground," said Vinod Bhati, a general store owner.

1,56,638
Total number of people who registered for the Jail Bharo Andolan (till Tuesday)

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