With Anna Hazare ailing and Mumbaikars largely staying away, the anti-graft campaigner’s 3-day fast appears to have fizzled out on the second day on Wednesday.
As hardly a few hundred supporters, mostly north Indians, marked their presence at the sprawling MMRDA ground, the police too whittled down the security apparatus significantly.
When 74-year-old Hazare launched his fast on Tuesday, fourth this year, for a strong Lokpal, the estimate of people at the venue varied between 4,000 to 10,000.
The attendance dropped sharply on Wednesday with hardly a 200-300 people sitting in front of the stage.The activist’s fast at Ramlila Maidan in August had seen impressive turnout with upto 30,000-40,000 people pouring in every day.
“The crowd has been relatively low here compared to Delhi, much less than I had expected. We haven’t seen many Mumbaikars here,” Pavitra Singh, from Punjab, said. He attributed it to various reasons like news reports about threat to Hazare and his supporters. “Also, since Mumbai is a commercial hub, the working class people come and go as per their convienence,” Singh, who is fasting, said.
K V Singh from Haryana, who was with Hazare during his army days, lamented Mumbaikar’s obsession with work, saying “It seems people of Mumbai are busy with work. They don’t have time for social causes…burning issue like corruption.” Hazare, who is suffering from viral infection, has not come on stage so far and, since beginning his fast, has addressed the gathering just once.
Doctors attending on him said he was running fever and his blood pressure dropped while standing, making him difficult to walk. They have advised him to end the fast, saying otherwise his kidney can get affected. Hazare was also showing signs of dehydration.