Hazare fails to rally support in Hyderabad

HYDERABAD - India’s top anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare’s much-talked about first visit to Hyderabad turned out to be a damp squib with only a few hundred people turning up for his public meeting late Sunday evening.

By P S Jayaram

Published: Tue 19 Feb 2013, 10:19 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:32 PM

And Anna did not mince words while expressing his disappointment with the miserly response he got in the State capital.

“The turnout is poor,” the anti-graft icon said more than once during his hour-long speech. Anna, however, cloaked his disappointment by saying that he was encouraged by the number of youths in the crowd. “I see quite a lot of youths in the crowd, and they are the future of the country. If I can enlighten them against corruption, my purpose would be served,” he said.

Anna’s visit was organised by ‘Jantantra Morcha’ which was launched a fortnight ago with the sole aim of challenging the UPA government’s policies. The public meeting, organised at a college ground in Secunderabad, was scheduled to take off at 3pm, but with just empty chairs surrounding the podium, the organisers pushed the start to 5pm. But, even at 6pm when the Gandhian rose to speak, there were only a few hundred people who had turned up to listen to his speech, which was in sharp contrast to the huge crowds he has been attracting in New Delhi and other places since he began his anti-graft crusade a couple of years ago.

Anna, however, appeared undeterred by the low turnout, and said he would tour the country relentlessly for the next 18 months and persuade people to participate in the anti-corruption movement. “In this country of 1.2 billion people, I am confident that I will be successful in awakening at the conscience of least 60 million public. And once I achieve this, it is enough to force the government to bring about the much-needed changes in the system,” he said.

Stating that corruption would be minimised by 50 per cent with the introduction of the Janlokpal Bill, he said complete reformation of the system was required to root out corruption completely.

“By the next elections, we should have a ‘Right to Reject’ option while voting. If we don’t see any good candidates around, then we should be in a position to reject them. If majority of the voters use this option then elections will be held again,” Anna said, adding that such an exercise would serve as a big lesson to all those who spend millions on elections and would not dare do it again.

Emphasising on the importance of Gram Sabha Swaraj (independence of village administration), Anna said: “The gram sabhas are more important than Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Everyone who has attained the age of 18 years becomes a member of gram sabha and they should be given the power to decide how the money will be spent and should be allowed to take important decisions related to the village.”

Former Indian Army Chief General V K Singh, who also spoke on the occasion, urged the people to rally behind Anna and be a part of his movement. “The policies of the country have not helped the common man. Corruption is increasing and natural resources are being exploited. We should collectively fight this menace and bring about a change,” he said.


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