New Delhi, Apr 9 : Waving tricolour and singing and dancing to the tunes of drums, people today made Jantar Mantar a carnival site as Gandhian Anna Hazare broke his fast after the government gave into activists' demands on Lokpal Bill. Youth and old, men and women, poor and rich -- all stood shoulder to shoulder at the nerve-centre of the anti-corruption protest shouting 'Vande Mataram', 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' and 'Inquilab Zindabad' as Hazare sipped juice offered by a girl to end his fast which lasted 98 hours. A group of tribals from Maharashtra erupted into a folk dance at the venue as soon as Hazare ended his fast, while some priests performed a havan at the site.
Strangers hugged each other and shouted slogans hailing Hazare. As Mahatma Gandhi's favourite hymn 'Raghupati Raghava Rajaram' played in the background, Hazare appeared on the dais at 10:25 am to loud cheers from the people who were jostling for space to have a glimpse of the 73-year-old Gandhian who ignited a nationwide protest for a strong anti-graft law.
Hazare saluted the fellow satyagrahis, offered juice to a group of fasting women and spoke about his next course of action. Every word he spoke, he was cheered by people. "The revolution has come. Now it is only a matter of time for it to spread it like a wild fire across the country," quipped a beaming Arvind, a professional based in neighbouring Gurgaon said.
"Thank you A Raja, thank you Suresh Kalmadi for bringing us together" read a banner at the protest site. Carrying a tricolour, 73-year-old Srinath from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh was roaming around the protest site saying this is a decisive victory for people. "We have to get rid of corruption. This is a good beginning," he said. A loud cheer was heard as Bedi showed the assembled the gazetteer notification about the constitution of a committee to draft the Lokpal Bill.
However, there were murmurs of protest also. A young businessman from Punjab, Tejinder Pal Bagga, was seen carrying a poster 'We want Kiran Bedi in the ten-member panel" to draft the Lokpal Bill. He objected to the presence of Prashant Bhushan in the panel alleging he has insulted the Army. Some senior citizens fought with media personnel for space as they could not watch what was happening at the dais.
For their two minutes of fame on national television, some people resorted to sloganeering whenever a camera crew passed through them and spoke about how angry they were about corruption and how they could not stand politicians anymore. In between came the advice from a doctor Sudhir Sharma attending to Hazare to the fasting men and women. "When you go home, you may feel some discomfort. Have food which has less oil. You may have dysentery and headache. So take care." Swami Agnivesh also made the protest site to issue and appeal to Maoists. "Shun violence and adopt Gandhian methods to fight injustice," he said.
Volunteers had tough time in convincing some "activist-leaders" from leaving the stage as it was carrying more people than it could.Announcement through microphones were made to them to leave the stage and the "activist-leaders" reluctantly left the stage, dejected as they could not be part of the limelight.
Soon after Hazare's fast was broken, people were seen congratulating activist Arvind Kejriwal and others for not succumbing during the negotiations.Many people were seen clicking pictures with activists.PTI