Amidst cheering supporters, social activist Anna Hazare on Tuesday began his three-day fast here in protest against a “weak” Lokpal Bill even as Lok Sabha initiated a debate on the proposed law.
Mr. Hazare, who is suffering from a viral infection, arrived at the MMRDA grounds in Bandra Kurla Complex of suburban Mumbai along with his close aides Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Manish Sisodia to a thunderous applause and slogans of ’Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Matram’.
Mr. Hazare began his fast shouting slogans of ‘Vande Matram’ and ‘inqilab zindabad’
The 74-year-old activist reached the venue after paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Juhu Beach while on his way in a rally, which took two-and-half hours to reach the ground, passing through Santacruz, Tulip Star Hotel, Mithibai College, S V Road, Vile Parle, Khar and Bandra Highway.
Mr. Hazare travelled in a decorated open truck from the guest house to MMRDA grounds waving tricolour and a number of people were seen waiting to greet him on the streets.
However, there was high drama on way as around 20 men blocked his convoy and showed him black flags. The convoy of Mr. Hazare, on way to Mahatma Gandhi’s statue on Juhu beach, was briefly stopped by the protesters carrying black flags and national tricolour and shouting “Anna Hazare murdabad“.
In Delhi, Lok Sabha started a discussion on the bill.
However, Team Anna’s protest elicited a lukewarm response with supporters blaming the winter chill and absence of Anna Hazare for the low turnout at Ramlila Maidan.
The protest relay fast in Delhi was scheduled to start at 10 AM but it started only 90 minutes later as the crowd was not as huge as witnessed during the earlier agitation when Hazare was at the centre stage.