Mumbai: A day after
the Lok Sabha passed a Lokpal bill he had trashed, an ailing Anna
Hazare Wednesday called off his three-day fast a day earlier by
sipping lemon juice. But he vowed to take on the Congress in all
five states facing elections early next year.
After initially refusing to bow to appeals from doctors and
associates, the 74-year-old announced his decision over 24 hours
after he had launched his protest Tuesday at the MMRDA ground
demanding a "strong Lokpal".
Looking weak but sounding bitter, he also axed the proposed "Jail
Bharo" campaign that was to start across the country Friday. Aide
Arvind Kejriwal said Team Anna was not retreating and would review
its strategy soon.
Hazare, who is running temperature, sipped lemon juice from a
glass at about 6.40 p.m. to wild clapping and then passed the
glass to Kejriwal and fellow activist Manish Sisodia who too were
A doctor told IANS that Hazare would spent the night at a rest
house and probably leave for his village Ralegan-Siddhi Thursday
"I have called off my fast but my fight against corruption will
continue," Hazare told the gathering here, speaking haltingly. He
did not raise any slogans though -- a departure from his routine.
Hazare's announcement came after his Mumbai hunger strike failed
to draw the huge crowds his 12-day August fast in Delhi had
attracted, forcing the government then to virtually accept his key
But the government backtracked, refusing to unveil Citizens'
Charter and bring the entire bureaucracy under the Lokpal's ambit.
Looking grave on the stage Wednesday afternoon, Hazare accused the
Congress-led government of "betraying" the country by passing what
he said was "an ineffective Lokpal".
He said he will tour Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and
Uttarakhand to campaign against those who did not vote for his
"Jan Lokpal bill".
"This is the only way forward after seeing what happened in
parliament yesterday," he said, referring to the overnight passage
of the Lokpal bill in the Lok Sabha.
"Maybe it will take 10 to 15 to 20 years for us to succeed," he
He was to have fasted from Tuesday to Thursday. But after he
developed viral fever, doctors urged him to end it without much
delay, warning that his rising blood pressure could cause kidney
Later, as reporters began asking questions, Hazare walked out of
the stage. But Kejriwal took over, replying to a volley of
questions including those that sought to question the Anna
"We are not retreating," said Kejriwal, a former Indian Revenue
Service officer who has emerged as the best known face of Team
Anna. "We are going to intensify our agitation."
He clarified that Team Anna was not against the Congress and the
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) per se but the Congress was the
guilty party as it was the driver behind Tuesday's Lokpal bill.
That bill, he said, was meant to protect the corrupt and not to
In Delhi, his colleague Prashant Bushan said the debate over the
lack of constitutional status to the Lokpal did not matter since
the bill that the Lok Sabha passed was "a toothless and useless
Hazare supporters were happy -- and disappointed too.
"All of Anna's efforts seem to be going down the drain. He has
been fighting for a strong Lokpal for years. But I am glad he
decided to call off his fast. He badly needs rest," said Usha
Sharma, who too has been fasting alongside Hazare since April.
Doctors earlier urged Hazare to immediately end his fast. They
warned that his blood urea nitrogen and cretanine levels had risen
and the sodium levels had fallen. He had 100 degrees temperature
in the day.
Wednesday's premature end to the hunger strike capped an emotive
campaign that began in April when Hazare fasted for five days in
Delhi, forcing the government to talk to his team over a proposed
He again fasted for 12 days in August and for a day this month,
becoming a household name across the country.