Amid concerns over his health as his protest entered ninth day, Anna Hazare on Wednesday said he could fast for another nine days.
“My fast has entered the ninth day. Nothing will happen to me. I can fast for another nine days. We will fight together,” he told the gathering at the Ramlila Maidan. The statement by the Gandhian was greeted by loud applause and cheers by his supporters.
The remarks came amid concerns over his health with doctors advising the hospitalisation of Mr. Hazare, who refused to do so and also refused to take intravenous drip.
“I am receiving energy from the enthusiasm of the crowd. Some people have spoiled the country, we will all together re-build the country,” Mr. Hazare said.
Demanding decentralisation of power, Mr. Hazare said corruption has made life miserable for the poor and downtrodden.
“It has become difficult for poor people to live because of corruption. How people staying in 24-hour air-conditioned comfort will be able to realise the plight of the common man.
“The Constitution has given powers to the people. Please give that power to the common man. There should be decentralisation of power. It will not be a true democracy till there is no decentralisation of power,” Mr. Hazare said.
The Gandhian said he has been pushing for Jan Lokpal Bill as it will ensure power to the people.
“Jan Lokpal Bill is nothing but ensuring power to the people. Today we are having autocracy ( hukumshahi ) not democracy. Ensure decentralisation of power. People are supreme and power should come to them.
“My courage has gone up because of your whole-hearted support. There is no guarantee of the body. People die of heart attack. It is better to die for the country than to die of heart attack,” he said.
To continue fast till all demands are met
While addressing his supporters earlier in the day Mr. Hazare said: “Yesterday, the government agreed to our demands but kept a decision pending on three issues.“
"If the demands are not met, I have decided that I will fight till my last breath,” he said. “From village to mantralaya, everyone should be brought under Lokpal,” the Gandhian said, adding “it has become very difficult for the poor to avail any service since the chain of corruption went from bottom to top.”
He said from getting a ration card, kerosene and health services, nothing can be done without paying a bribe. “This chain has to be broken,” he said.
Team Anna has been demanding that the whole bureaucracy should be brought under the ambit of Lokpal while the government is of the view that only officers above the level of Under Secretary should come within its purview.
On the demand for citizen’s charter, Mr. Hazare said government offices should display a board which gives details about the officers and what services will be available there.
“It should specify in how many days you will get the service you seek. If any officer fails to provide the service in the time specified by the charter, he can be punished by Lokpal. It does not end here, Lokpal should also have powers to dismiss him,” he said.
Claiming that elected representatives and government employees were hand-in-glove in corruption, he said there was a need for a citizen’s charter so that erring officials can be punished.
Mr. Hazare said he would not go back on the demand for ensuring the setting of Lokayukta at state-level along with Lokpal at the centre.