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Monday, 22 August 2011

Anna Hazare supporters protest outside houses of MPs in UP

Supporters of Anna Hazare outside the house of BJP leader
and Ghaziabad MP Rajnath Singh
Anna Hazare has scored a hit with his call for a dharna outside the residences of elected representatives to force them to support the Jan Lokpal Bill. Political leaders across Uttar Pradesh faced the heat on Sunday.

Over 3,000 people gathered outside the house of Ghaziabad MP and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh.

Rajnath, however, was in Karnataka for a meeting and senior citizens submitted a memorandum to his representatives.

"The common man is unable to have three meals a day because of rising food prices - a result of corruption. The people of his constituency want Rajnath and his party to support the Jan Lokpal Bill," Rajendra Tyagi, general secretary of the anti- corruption body Social Awareness Society, said.

Earlier in the day, the Gandhian had asked a cheering crowd of around 1 lakh people at the Ramlila Maidan to start visiting their elected representatives' residences. "Go to their residences... go sing Raghupati Raghav raja Ram, sabko sanmati de bhagwan," he had said.

Heeding his call, people across UP protested outside their MPs' homes. "If the Congress government does not listen to the people, it will meet the same fate as in 1977," Hindi daily Hind Kranti 's editor Satyendra Yadav said.

In Kanpur, over 1,000 people organised a sit-in in front of Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal's house. Similar protests were held outside the houses of Union law minister Salman Khurshid in Farrukhabad and Congress MP Raja Ram Pal in Kanpur. The protesters also sat on dharna in front of the house of Samajwadi Party MP Reoti Raman Singh.

Members of India Against Corruption also turned the heat on P. L. Punia, chief of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, and BJP MP Lalji Tandon.

The protesters convinced RLD MP Sarika Singh Baghel in Hathras to announce her support for Anna.

R. K. Agrawal, a member of India Against Corruption, said: "We will organise sit- ins near the houses of ministers and MPs every day." Sunday was by far the busiest day for Team Anna. Arvind Kejriwal sounded disappointed at the government's response or the lack of it on Anna's sixth day of fast. He said, "We got a proposal from the government but they haven't even agreed to our smallest of suggestions.

There hasn't yet been any meeting ground." By late Sunday, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and an Indorebased religious leader Bhayuji Maharaj too were seen talking to Anna. Sources said the spiritual guru was trying to bring about a compromise between Team Anna and the government.

Earlier, former Karnataka Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde spoke at the Ramlila Maidan.

"Anna doesn't want to become the PM or President. He simply wants to fight corruption," he said.

Other speakers who addressed the gathering included Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani, the vice-chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband. Team Anna also roped in around a dozen sportspersons, many of them Arjuna awardees, for support.

Prashant Bhushan, lawyer and Team Anna member, said: "The government says if the Prime Minister is investigated for corruption charges, the government will be shaken. But if the Prime Minister is corrupt and not investigated, this will be a great danger to the country's security," he said, adding that though their team was ready to talk to the government, it would not compromise on the core issues.

"Our Jan Lokpal Bill has been amended 13 times. All suggestions have been included," he added. He also demanded that the government bring a strong judicial accountability Bill along with the Lokpal Bill.

Swami Agnivesh, another Team Anna member, said they were open for talks but the government should create an atmosphere for it.

"In order to open a door for dialogue, the government has to create an atmosphere. They have to create an atmosphere of trust by withdrawing the government Bill from Parliament and introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill. This is the least they should do to earn our trust," he said.


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