Form discussion groups, vote for good candidates, they say

Leading lights of India Against Corruption, which organised anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare's day-long fast at Jantar Mantar here on Sunday made a strong pitch to Mr. Hazare's supporters to take up the responsibility for sustaining the campaign for the long road ahead.

While Team Anna strategist Arvind Kejriwal called on people to form Charcha Sammooh (discussion groups) comprising 15-20 members of the family, friends, or neighbours to discuss issues, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi reminded the people to derive maximum returns on their right to vote by electing candidates with excellent antecedents.

Referring to the role of citizens in a democracy and a republic, Mr. Hazare said his role was restricted to inspiring and waking up the “masters who had gone to sleep and handed over the treasury to the servants [legislators] for safekeeping. Henceforth, all of you should be vigilant,” he said.

Sunday's fast shared several of the same ingredients that had made Mr. Hazare's earlier fasts at Jantar Mantar and Ramlila Maidan successful. Supporters waved the Tricolour lustily, singers came on stage to croon patriotic songs at regular intervals with “Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon” being sung the most, considering that one of the demands of the protest was action against murderers of whistleblowers.

Water sachets were distributed at regular intervals by volunteers who were also seen distributing pamphlets in Hindi to people at the venue. CDs and books featuring Mr. Hazare's agitation were also made available. A number of organisations came forward to support the fast. Some like the organisation of jhuggi-jhonpri residents and the differently-abled persons were highlighted. A number of leaders of Muslim organisations were also invited to speak from Mr. Hazare's satyagraha pandal.

The police cordoned off both ends of Jantar Mantar Road to prevent vehicular traffic, while visitors to the venue of the fast had to pass through doorframe metal detectors besides being subjected to frisking by Delhi police personnel.

A large area in front of the pandal was earmarked for the visual media. Two giant screens installed at both sides of the pandal and a number of smaller LCD screens ensured there was no pushing and shoving to get closer to the social activist.

The screens ensured that people got to see and listen to Mr. Hazare and other speakers without testing the reserves of the volunteers, who struggled to control the crowds at last year's Jantar Mantar fast.

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