It's the first step towards the dream of a corruption-free India, believe Anna's supporters

Even as the indefinite fast by social activist Anna Hazare entered its tenth day on Thursday and negotiations were on to resolve the deadlock, the mood at the sprawling Ramlila Maidan here was upbeat with his supporters terming the movement a first step towards the dream of a corruption-free society.

“Whether the Jan Lokpal Bill is made into a law or not, this movement itself has the power to bring about a change. It is a good beginning. If people supporting the movement decide not to give or accept bribe, it can make a huge difference,” said 75-year-old Sharad Patil, who holds a senior position in the Employers' Federation of India and has come from Mumbai to witness the “second freedom struggle”.

Echoing similar sentiments, Vivek Aggarwal, a chartered accountant from Paschim Vihar, said: “In the 50 years of my life, I have never seen so many people out on the streets carrying the Tricolour and shouting “Vande Mataram”. Not even on Independence Day or Republic Day or at any of the rallies of the political parties. This, I think, is the biggest achievement of the movement. Corruption has been there for several decades and cannot be rooted out so easily. We need to wage a long battle against it. This movement is the first step in that direction and we need to take it forward.”

But his chartered accountant friend Rakesh Sehgal begs to differ. “It might be easy for the educated population to see the gains from the movement, but it may disappoint many other if the Jan Lokpal Bill is not passed by Parliament. They might construe it as a defeat,” said Mr. Sehgal.

Donning a Gandhi cap with “I am Anna” inscribed on it, 40-year-old B. S. Omprakash, who has come from Andhra Pradesh, said the movement had redefined the power of “non-violence” and “honesty”. “The present generation has read about the non-violent movement of Gandhiji only in textbooks. But now they are part of a movement that has rocked the Government without a single instance of violence. It is also a lesson for those who have resorted to violent means to achieve their goals,” said Mr. Omprakash, who has been staying with his relatives in Noida.

Thirty-year-old Bhushan Talveja, a businessman, believes that the handling of the movement had exposed the political class like never before.

“The blatant attempt of the Government to quell the movement by arresting Annaji and his close associates and the kind of language used by some politicians against him has shown their true colour. Now if the various Lokpal Bills are discussed in Parliament, people will come to know the views and stand of their respective representatives on the issue. And then it is for the people to decide whether they want him to represent them again or not.”

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