Tag Archives: Anna

MMRDA ground all set for Anna’s historic fast

A day before Anna Hazare begins his fourth fast of the year for a ‘strong Lokpal Bill,’ the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground in the Bandra Kurla complex is all ready to receive the activist and his supporters.

Mr. Hazare’s supporters have already started to gather at the fortified venue, which will have 2,000 police constables, 200 sub-inspectors, six platoons of the State Reserve Police Force, three Quick Response Teams and two Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads. Members of India Against Corruption (IAC) have appealed to the people not to carry luggage or personal belongings to the venue for security reasons. No special exemptions have been extended to Team Anna for the protest.

Less than 24 hours before the fast, Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Umeshchandra Sarangi held a meeting with top police officials, including the Director-General of Police and the Mumbai Police Commissioner, to review security issues.

Speeches to be monitored

“We will control access to the ground and see to it that the crowds do not become unmanageable,” Mr. Sarangi told reporters after the meeting. The State will monitor all speeches made from the dharna platform from Tuesday.

Some 10,000 sq. metres of the 30,000 sq. metre-ground will be reserved for parking. The ground will have six emergency exits, 16 fire extinguishers and six metal detectors. Ambulances and a fire engine will be on standby round-the-clock. IAC has already booked over 300 dormitories in Bandra and Kurla and many buses will run from the nearby railway stations to the venue on all three days.

On Tuesday, Mr. Hazare will begin his fast after garlanding Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Juhu and a rally of bikes will move with him towards the MMRDA ground. The 74-year-old will be on fast on December 27, 28 and 29.

That will be followed by a Jail Bharo Andolan on December 30 across the country.

Less than 24 hours before the fast, social networking sites are abuzz.

The number of registrations for Jailchalo has crossed 1,30,000, out of which over 11,000 are from the Mumbai region.

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I am forced to go on fast: Hazare

Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare reached here on Monday, to push for a strong Lokpal with a three-day hunger strike starting Tuesday evening.

Despite suffering from fever and cold, the 74-year-old Mr. Hazare left his village Ralegan-Siddhi, halting at Sant Gyaneshwar temple to offer prayers before reaching here after a six-hour drive.

Mere information of his arrival here created a wave of excitement among the volunteers of India Against Corruption (IAC) movement. “He has reached and now the wheel of change will turn, we expect well over a lakh people to come each day. Even before the actual event crowds have started to gather at the venue and there have been over one lakh online registrations,” a 21-year-old student volunteering at the venue as an usher said.

On Tuesday, Mr. Hazare will begin his fast after garlanding Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Juhu and a rally of bikes will move with him towards the MMRDA ground where he would sit on his protest fast. He will be on fast till December 29 followed by a ‘jail bharo andolan’ on December 30 across the country.

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Team Anna is not soft on communalism: Kejriwal

Key member of Team Anna, Arvind Kejriwal, has sought to dispel any impression that social activist Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement is soft on the issue of communalism.

“Corruption does not discriminate between Hindus and Muslims. It affects all communities, and a corrupt officer is neither Hindu nor Muslim. The UPA can try to project Annaji’s agitation as anti-Dalit or anti-Muslim, but the fact remains that all religions and castes are standing with us and against corruption,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

The statements were made on Sunday, after Mr. Kejriwal had a long discussion with representatives of many Muslim NGOs such as the Mumbai Aman Committee, the Impact India Foundation, the All India Ulema Council and Federation of Muslim NGOs (AIUC).

“Communalism is a bigger danger than corruption. We have said repeatedly that we are totally against communalism,” he said.

Explaining the last-minute change in the venue of the meeting, AIUC chief Maulana Mehboob Daryabadi said: “We were scheduled to meet at the Islam Gymkhana Club but they were being pressurised by some members of the Congress party, so we decided to change the venue and avoid unpleasantness. We had long and frank discussions with Mr. Kejriwal and we are with him and Annaji in the fight against corruption.”

Mr. Kejriwal sought to allay fears that a larger gathering at the fast venue could lead to trouble or violence. “In Delhi, lakhs of people got together on the Ramlila grounds, yet there was no trouble. This is because we asked everyone to be vigilant.”

Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Kishore Joshi said in a statement that Mr. Hazare’s agitation was directed only at the party, which had been instrumental in introducing the Lokpal Bill, while the Shiv Sena had opposed it and challenged Team Anna to launch an agitation against its chief Bal Thackeray.

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battle lines drawn at the fast venue

MUMBAI: Anna Hazare’s fast venue at Bandra-Kurla Complex saw hundreds of volunteers gathered to plan the protest and as many policemen gathered to ensure safety arrangements. For over 600 constables Christmas evening meant marching to the venue to review the area where they would be deputed for the next few days, “At no cost should anyone be rude, politely as people to cooperate so that there is no unpleasantness,” a group was being instructed at one of the corners of the 30,000 sq meter ground.

Over 50,000 people are expected to turn up at the fast every day “we are not going to register every persona s it will be very difficult to keep count, only people keeping fast with Anna ji will be registered,” Mayank Gandhi, coordinator of Mumbai IAC said. He added that there has been a huge support to the moment and they will not to accept any financial aid from anyone, “I am glad to say that people have volunteered to sponsor food, water, CCTV cameras, and rent of the venue. Within few hours of submitting application with MMRDA people had pledged over Rs 70 lakh. But we are not accepting nay cash or cheque this time.”

“We have lived our lives under forced corruption, our only demand is that the government comes up with a strong anti-graft bill so that the coming generation have a choice to be corrupt on not. We are still expecting the government to give an actual anti graft law and that will be a victory for us and the country, but there is little hope from politician,” one of the volunteer said.  “I am going to be here for as long as it takes …my business will get affected but the country has been hurt more,” he added.

In a related development, as many as 84,487 people from all over the country had registered their names till 9 pm on jailchalo.com web site set up by the IAC for registering the names of volunteers expressing their readiness to go to jail as part of its jail bharo andolan slated for December 30,31 and January 1 for the Jan Lokpal cause. Nearly 8,000 people from Mumbai and suburbs have registered, “This number is going to increase, we were expecting people to start registering after  27th when Anna Ji is here and the fast begins but we already have over 80, 000 people,” Radhika Prashad Dubey, who has taken up to responsibility of supplying food at the venue. “We have not tried to estimate the number of people, we will feed every person that comes here,” he added.

Responding to Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh’s remarks on Anna Hazare’s association with Rastriya Swayam Sevi sang (RSS) based on a picture with Nanaji Deskmukh to Arvind Kejriwal said,” Anna ji has pictures with Digvijay Singh and Sonia Gandhi as well, what does that mean?”

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Anna supporters stage protests in Chandigarh

Volunteers of city-based NGOs and local supporters of social activist Anna Hazare’s Jan Lokpal Bill defied prohibitory orders and staged protests outside the Prime Minister’s house here on Tuesday.

Additional security has been provided at Manmohan Singh’s private bungalow here, as well as to residences of his Cabinet colleagues such as Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.

Gaurav Goel and B.S. Makkar, members of an NGO, said people were frustrated with the system and had taken to the streets. “The government should reach a consensus with the Anna team to resolve the issue,” a supporter added.

Several Anna supporters also staged a dharna in front of Mr. Bansal’s residence.

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Anna and the bill

After  a lil research these are the major differences in the bill and the anna’s wish list bill. however defiant the two parties might be on their stand might be fact is that the two drafts are essentially similar. While the anna version wants everything and everyone to be under cover esp the PM office, the govt version has a more reserved idea of the same. but fact is neither any possible PM to be nor any former PM are beyond the preview and hence pre or post the actual crowning anyone can be checked for corruption. Same is true for parliamentarians, however the conduct during the session need no preview- why? cause its telecasted LIVE! other differences aer largly based on the fact that government does not want every tom, dick and harry(yes yes the ‘aam adami’) to file a complaint about every damn thing(yes aam admi does that ask ppl about the rubbish RTI applications) where as Team Anna wants that everything shd be done and within a time frame and with a system that super sonic in speed and credibility. Some matter like the arbitrary selection of judges etc can be sorted by streamlining  the process instead of demanding an inquiry into each judge’s collection of law books etc. Anyway here are the broad difference in the two versions…

On Prime Minister’s Office

Govt: Complete exemption of PM
Team Anna: PM is included

On MPs in Parliament

Govt: Include MPs but exclude their conduct in Parliament (their powers to speak and vote)
Team Anna: MPs’ conduct in Parliament should be included

On Judiciary

Govt: Exempt judiciary; to include it in judicial accountability bill
Team Anna: Include higher judiciary within the Lokpal

On Lower bureaucracy

Govt: Included only group `A’ officials (officials of the rank of deputy secretary and above)
Team Anna: Wants all government employees included

On Merger with CBI and CVC

Govt: Wants to keep them separate, only a 11-member agency
Team Anna: Wants CBI and CVC merged with the Lokpal

On Selection

Govt: Wants to set up a selection committee including PM, leaders of both Houses of Parliament, leaders of Opposition of both Houses, Speaker, cabinet secretariat, two SC judges
Team Anna: Proposes setting up of a search committee of five judges that would shortlist names to be sent to the selection committee. The selection committee would include two SC judges, two HC judges, PM, home minister, CEC and CAG

On Removal

Govt: Only government can move a petition to the court to remove the Lokpal
Team Anna: Any citizen can move the court

On Lokayuktas in states

Govt: State governments opposed to Lokayuktas so only one agency will function at the Centre
Team Anna: Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states should function, also district officials

On Grievance redressal

Govt: Disciplinary action will be taken if deadlines on citizens’ charter are not met
Team Anna: Monetary fines should be levied for violating deadlines on citizens’ charter

On Inquiry process

Govt: Accused should get a hearing before the Lokpal registers a FIR
Team Anna: Court should hear the accused after the case has been filed

On Power

Govt: Only high level corruption will be looked at
Team Anna: All corruption should be tackled.

Now i like the anna(utopian) version , there is no fault in it except its belief that corruption is a quantifiable (complaiantable) thing and forget that basic matters of life, death, food, housing, education, water etc dont need earth shattering corruption exposures but better policies and more than that effective implementation. a famous quote says  “you are the average of the five people you are closest to” that makes most of us equally corrupt, while one may demand bribes, the other may bunk classes, not be devoted to duty, litter, lie, or prolong a social agitation buy using media hype instead of negotiating for public welfare.

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Anna and the circus around ‘IT’

i say ‘it’ instead of him cause he is  not a man anymore- any person or thing that catches the fancy of a county like India has to be more than a man. So is he a creation of media that magnified his opinions or is he the epitome of Gandhian thought, I am not sure if I should even know answers to these questions but one thing is for sure, he sure has a lot of airtime. To be sure of what I am saying I tried to find if there was any reference of him before 2011 and News.google.com has articles on a Russian spy named Anna instead. So how does a man we have forgotten about suddenly appear and charm the nation into believing that his version of a certain bill is better and more ‘nation friendly’ than government’s version. Again I am not saying which version is better, I did read the difference but I think both can be manipulated and hence the implementation is more important that the bill draft.

His draft might be the best tool to beat corruption, but how did he convince the county about it? At a time when MNCs, celebrities and even government hires specialised teams for appropriate public relations and media coverage how he is getting so much coverage. I am not questioning his integrity, his past, his method of protest (or whatever u may chose to term it) or his popularity -I am simply trying to understand it. I need to understand why all the TV channels and newspapers are so engrossed with Anna that on the 65th independence day they happily follow around him as he ‘meditates’ at Rajghat and send us a live feed of his chest rising and falling and rising and falling and rising again. It is unlikely that the TV channels had no programme prepared for the evening, there is a easy availability of numerous intellectuals and of course there is Rahul Bose, Shobha de, Mahesh Bhatt and the spokes person of congress and BJP (who probably car pool to the TV studio thrice every week). Also there are enough Bollywood songs and movies to make a quick montage and of course there are the anchors who love the sound of their voice so much that they would say anything to cover the 7-10 pm slot and ensure that there is something to ensure that the advertisements can be telecasted on time.

The opposition party is very sure and loud that it is the failure of the present government that has led to this unrest and they support everything ‘anti government’ even if no one probably except Jailty can tell u what the Lokpal bill is. Meanwhile the ruling party and the humble…oh so humble….head of the government is sure that it is not patriotic, democratic etc….why…not sure but it is not- ask Jayanthi Natarajan. So is it that the country is in shambles and the politicians are all corrupt and the governance is ineffective and law is weak ….and hence the public is agreeing to the sound of a man dressed in a Gandhi cap? Or maybe the sceptics are right; he is created by the media and if they get a sizzling Bollywood wedding or a triple murder they will abandon the Anna coverage- that means if Saif asks and Kareena says yes we would be listening to the menu of their wedding dinner instead of Lokpal bill.

Before we ask how did it get this big and for how long will it stay this big, we need to ask what it is? Is he a reincarnation of Gandhi’s soul, is it a second national freedom struggle, is it a protest against a bad version of a bill, is it a lame attempt of a government to save its reputation or is it just easy news for lazy journalists. Firstly comparisons to the national freedom struggle or Gandhi are an insult to their memory, as a citizen who was born in Free India I was taught to respect the martyrs and the role of Gandhi’s non-violent philosophy and unless this coverage of ‘Anshan’ proves its worth as more than a media created and telecasted event we should not get into comparisons. Team Anna –as they are called- are unsure whether they are protesting or meditating or negotiating or drafting bills but until they state their aim, not their next step…their realistic aim every thinking soul will ask them what they intend to do. Also there is a question if the government is scared of an uprising by the sheer strength of his motivation and worry that if the public realises its collective might. Sadly after sending their ministers to receive him at the airport the government can never claim that it’s scared of Anna. Also the brazen attack on sleeping people at a protest organised by Anna’s Robin- Baba Ram Dev took away most of the credibility brownies they had saved up.

Lastly – lazy journo, yes it is an exciting profession but journalists are not all Clark Kent and saving the world comes way down the list after paying bills, keeping the job and meeting a decent guy/girl and getting a good home loan. SO when a grandiloquent man wearing a Gandhi cap talks of a utopian law whose merger creation can solve all corruption from India and lead us to the glorious future we deserve….journalist jump on the wagon to telecast each word.

So as I hear the anchor tell me that Anna will address a conference, no he won’t no he will may be he might, I write wonder if he is media created or are we as a nation this starved for leaders, this thirsty to follow ideals that to feel like we are doing something about the problem as long as we are in motion Or is it that I have seen Erin Brocowitch once too much.

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