Social activist Arvind Kejriwal, while announcing that Anna Hazare's health was perfectly fine, said the Gandhian did not want to go to the Ramlila Ground until proper arrangements were made at the venue.
Not everybody on social activist Anna Hazare’s side is happy with the official cap on the number of days that he can fast at Ramlila Ground here especially when the anti-corruption crusader has declared an indefinite fast to press his demands on the Lokpal Bill issue. Team Anna may seek a review later, according to a core group member.
However, despite the decks having being cleared for him to continue his fast at Ramlila Ground, Mr. Hazare may not be able to come out of jail till late evening or at all on Thursday as the venue has to be prepared to hold the thousands of people who have poured into the Capital to express solidarity.
"We decided that instead of getting into a confrontation on the duration of the fast, it was better to accept the [police] offer and then review the situation after 15 days and maybe seek more time,’’ lawyer Prashant Bhushan, a close associate of Anna Hazare, told The Hindu here on Thursday.
After vacillating between offering a week, a fortnight and three weeks, the police allowed a two week-long fast following prolonged negotiations on Wednesday that lasted well after midnight. Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, Mr. Bhushan, activists Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia were involved in the intense discussions with Police Commissioner B.K. Gupta till 1.30 am on Thursday on the issue. The police had already re-worked or withdrawn all other pre-conditions.
Despite police permission Mr. Hazare may not be able to come out of jail on Thursday as the venue had to be cleared of all the muck, Mr.Kejriwal told journalists and the crowds that thronged the gates of Tihar jail where Mr Hazare is ensconced.
Lashing out at the government for first detaining Anna and his associates, and then releasing them "within two hours’’, Mr. Kejriwal said the people should question the government on whether it can put people in jail at anytime and release them at will. "What kind of law is this, what kind of democracy? This has peeved Anna. He says you put me into Tihar at your will, now I will leave at my will.’’
Team Anna said the government’s excuse of an apprehension of breach of law and order had been proved wrong, as all the public outpouring in every part of the country had been totally peaceful and non-violent. ``There can be violence in political rallies, not Anna’s.’’
In answer to a question he said that here had been no offer of a dialogue from the government on their demands for including provisions of their Jan Lokpal Bill in the government’s version of the Lokpal Bill. "Our fight for the Jan Lokpal Bill to reach Parliament has just begun. We have just entered the battle zone with the police giving us permission for the fast to be held for 15 days at Ramlila ground.’’
The government has already introduced its Lokpal Bill in Parliament, which has been deferred to the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee.
The huge assembly of people at the Tihar gates cheered the news that Mr.Hazare may come out of jail late on Thursday or on Friday widely. From jail the activist congratulated people for the massive show of strength against corruption and thanked them for maintaining peace.
Discounting rumours about Mr Hazare’s health, fuelled by arrival of two ambulances at Tihar Wednesday night, Mr Kejriwal said the elderly activist was ``well’’ and was on fast. Heart specialist Naresh Trehan had offered his services to monitor his health during the fast, which Team Hazare has accepted.