New Delhi, Dec 28: Team Anna's protest against a “weak” Lokpal Bill here remained a damp squib for the second day today and was called off abruptly after Anna Hazare ended his fast in Mumbai.
The day began with just 200 people assembling at the huge Ramlila Grounds. Though the crowd grew in smaller proportion as the day progressed but their number did not exceed 1,000.
At one point during the day, security personnel were more visible than Team Anna's supporters at the 30,000-capacity Maidan here this morning.
This despite the fact that prominent team members like Kiran Bedi, Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan are participating in the agitation at the Ramlila Maidan here.
This is in sharp contrast to the 30,000 to 40,000 people who had poured in during Hazare's fast at this venue in August. His two other fasts at Jantar Mantar in the past eight months had also witnessed a large turnout.
The protest was called off after Hazare announced in Mumbai that he was ending his two-day long fast. After Hazare's announcement, Prasant Bhushan said no one should write obituary for the anti-corruption movement just because the team has called off the fast and planned agitations across the country.
“This movement has forced the government to pass a bill, however weak. It had to make a joint committee, standing committee and then pass a bill. It is a weak bill, no doubt, but it is your pressure that made it happen,” he said. Bhushan said their future strategy will be declared after the core committee meeting.
“The point to note is that in the current democracy, people's voice is not being heard. Anti-people laws are being made by the Government and we should get ready for a massive movement against what is happening,” he said.
Organisers attributed the thin crowd to winter chill and absence of Anna Hazare. The protest was scheduled to start at 10 AM but even after an hour, the Ramlila Maidan wore a deserted look with a handful of supporters. Recorded music was played at the venue with the supporters waving tricolour and launching into sporadic sloganeering against government.
The protest had elicited a lukewarm response yesterday with the programme starting with a low 500 turnout. This morning the numbers dwindled.
Bedi downplayed the low turnout, saying one should not just go by the number of people who turn up at the venue but the support received from the masses on Internet and other means should also be taken into account.
Bedi said lakhs of youth have been expressing their support to the anti-corruption campaign on the Internet and millions of people have been watching Hazare's agitation live on television, which is also a form of support.
“One should not just go by the numbers at the venue. If one had seen the number of people who marched from Juhi beach to MMRDA grounds, he or she will not say that the turnout is low. We have been successful in creating awareness among the people,” she told reporters.
“There are millions of people who are watching the fast live on television channels. They also support Anna Hazare. It is not necessary for them to come to the venue. See the support we get on Internet,” she said.