Anna Hazare ends fast after government assurance
New Delhi : Social activist Anna Hazare on Thursday called off his hunger strike after the Central government "in principle" agreed to his demands but refrained from providing a roadmap on the implementation in a time-bound manner.
Hazare, who had earlier demanded the timeline along with the action plan, said the Narendra Modi government assured him that promises would be fulfilled "soon" even as he warned the government of another agitation if the action is not taken in the six months' time.
A delegation of ministers led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met Hazare on Thursday evening and informed him that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) was "positive" about the demands of setting up of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in the states, implementation of the M.S. Swaminathan Committee report for fair crop prices and new electoral reforms.
Subsequently, Hazare broke his seven-day long fast with a glass of juice in presence of Fadnavis, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Maharashtra Minister Girish Mahajan among others.
"The government has agreed to give 1.5 times the input cost (for agricultural produce). Also, government has said the Lokpal would be appointed soon. It says the electoral reforms come under the Election Commission's jurisdiction," Hazare told the gathering of around 3,000 protestors at the iconic Ramlila Maidan.
"The government has said that the promises would be fulfilled soon. I will wait for six months. If the government fails to do it till then, I will start agitation in September. However, Fadnavis says it will not even take six months. Let us see."
Fadnavis said the Prime Minister's Office had in letter to Hazare conveyed which components would be considered while fixing Minimum Support Price (MSP) for agriculture produce.
"The central government has been positive about Anna ji's demands. We have explained to him the factors to be considered while fixing MSP. Also, a committee has been constituted in accordance with his demand of more autonomy to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP)," he said.
Fadnavis said the other demands of electoral reforms including "right to recall" would be forwarded to the Election Commission.
"The government will take speedy action on these issues. So Anna ji need not hold another fast," Fadnavis said.
Soon after Fadnavis finished his address, a protester hurled a shoe towards the stage with unknown motives. While no one was hurt, police detained the protestor immediately.