After a day of uncertainties over the venue of protest, volunteers of India Against Corruption (IAC) finally started preparations for the agitation at Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) suburban Bandra-Kurla complex. “We are expecting 40,000- 100,000 people to join Anna ji in and we are coordinating with the volunteers to ensure that everything happens smoothly,” IAC member Mayank Gandhi said after filing a fresh application with the MMRDA on Friday.
The protest will start on December 27, when activist Anna Hazare will launch a three-day hunger strike, demanding that the Parliament passes his version of the Lokpal Bill. “Now we have the venue finalised so we have moved to the next stage of coordinating with volunteers and arranging for the entire event. Volunteers across the nation are registering themselves and willing to overcome every hurdle to come to Mumbai and support Anna ji,” Preeti Menon, another member said. Even before the venue was ascertained Team Anna was making announcements in public places including Railway Stations, Malls, city squares, outside colleges, beaches, and gardens about the fast and encourage citizens to join by signature campaigns, she added.
Meanwhile Team Anna has simultaneously launched an online campaign for their ‘jail bharo’ agitation from December 30 against government’s Lokpal Bill wherein people can register themselves for the protest. Besides online registration, people can also approach Team Anna through text messages and a missed call service. The website says, “To express your willingness to go to jail for the Jan Lokpal bill, please fill the form below on the right.” Since its launch on Thursday the website has had close to 30,000 registrations out of which close to 2,500 are from Mumbai region.
Demand for Gandhi cap
Amongst other preparation there has been a steep rise in demand for the Gandhi cap, Dnyanesh Raja Ram, who has been associated with the IAC movement since August has the task of providing Gandhi caps to the supporters, “The sale is slow right now- just 100-150 caps a day. I am expecting the sale to reach 30-32,000 caps when Anna ji is in the city.” Priced at Rs.10 each the caps have become a symbol of support for the agitation.
The policeexpects a large crowd to assemble at the complex. However no officer commented on the arrangements or their anticipation of the ‘jail bharo’ call.
Team Anna has used the online media to its maximum by offering free sms alerts, email updates, Nokia/Android applications and downloads of all drafts of the Jan lokpal bill.