Supporters of Anna Hazare took out a march here on Sunday extending their support to civil society members of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee.

Armed with banners, placards, posters and flags, the supporters, after assembling at Jantar Mantar, started their march towards India Gate where a programme of songs and street play was held to pledge their support to the anti-corruption movement being spearheaded by Mr. Hazare. Supporters lit candles at India Gate to express solidarity with the cause.

Volunteer-cum-co-coordinator of the march Ashim said: We want to tell these leaders — civil society members on the committee — that we are with you and wholeheartedly support you and we will not let the movement die or allow it to be relegated to the back burner.”

Though Mr. Hazare, committee member Arvind Kejriwal and the former IPS officer, Kabir Bedi, were conspicuous by their absence, it was the supporters, volunteers and common people who held the show together through their enthusiastic participation, unmindful of the summer heat.

Several volunteer registration desks set up by the supporters were an instant hit with people turning up in hordes to fill up forms and contribute their bit to the movement.

Fifty-two-year-old Narender Rawat said: “These forms would help make the movement stronger and also give the organisers an idea of the number of people who have pledged their support to the cause of anti-corruption. It would definitely boost their morale and take the movement forward. I had come to support Annaji when he was fasting at Jantar Mantar last month and now I have come again this time. I shall keep coming until the Lokpal Bill is passed and there is an end to corruption in our country.”

According to Indu Verma, a housewife, who came along with her husband from Gurgaon to participate in the march, her support to Anna Hazare would continue, the “unnecessary mudslinging” campaign notwithstanding.

“I feel strongly about the cause behind the movement. I don't think it is fair to simply sit in our drawing rooms and show support, which is why I am here. Though I am satisfied with the setting up of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee, I want this movement to gather such momentum that shakes the very core of the corrupt polity which is at the heart of this issue,” she added.

Youth express solidarity

PTI reports from Mumbai:

On the eve of the second meeting of the Joint Drafting Committee of the Lokpal Bill in New Delhi, thousands of Mumbaikars gathered at the Gateway of India to express their solidarity with social activist Anna Hazare's fight against corruption.

The rally ‘Youth Against Corruption' led by the former IPS officer and prominent anti-corruption activist Kiran Bedi shouted slogans demanding implementation of the anti-corruption bill at the earliest.

“Youth should lead the nation now. We are all behind Anna Hazare...It's time we unite against corruption,” Ms. Bedi told reporters.

Protesters also included over 140 pilots of Air India.

“We all are here in our individual capacity to support Hazare against corruption,” captain Ritesh Mathankar said.

Ms. Bedi as part of the protest put a garland of slippers on a symbolic effigy of corruption.

The joint drafting committee met in the national capital on April 16 for the first time, amid a controversy over a CD allegedly involving lawyer and panel co-chairman Shanti Bhushan.

Correction: A reference to the former IPS officer Kabir Bedi is made in the fourth paragraph. It should be Kiran Bedi.

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