In an allay to the nation, after Parliament agreed to Team Anna's demands, Anna Hazare ended his 13-days-long fast against corruption by drinking coconut water and honey on Sunday at 10 am.
The 74-year-old anti-corruption crusader has upsurged the biggest anti-corruption/anti-government protest in the decade. The India Against Corruption campaign has sparked a public uprising and anger against endemic corruption, uniting the country's bulging middle-class against a hapless political class and underlining voter anger at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the ruling Congress party.
The decision to end his fast came after Parliament caved in to his three points
1) Appointment of Lokayuktas in the states
2) Preparing a citizens' charter
3) Including the lower bureaucracy under the ambit of Lokpal Bill.
"I feel this is the country's victory ... Tomorrow at 10 am I want to publicly break my fast," Hazare told over tens of thousands of cheering supporters on Saturday evening at Ramlila Maidan.
"Only half of the battle has been won, there is still some of it left," a weak-looking Hazare told the crowd.
Hazare and his team of social activist aides led a rousing rendition of the Indian national anthem as supporters waved national flags and celebrated almost a fortnight of protest.
The veteran activist, whose health had seriously deteriorated as his weight fell, made the announcement after a specially-convened session of parliament ended with lawmakers backing a resolution by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to push for a law to create an independent ombudsman with wide-ranging power to investigate lawmakers, the judiciary and bureaucrats.
Undermined by graft scandals and seen as out-of-touch with voters battling high inflation, Congress' failure to deal with Hazare's campaign before it became a national issue spells danger for the ruling party in state polls next year ahead of the 2014 General Election.
Meanwhile, the self-style Gandhiyan Anna Hazare who meditates at Rajghat before launching his fast on August 16 will not visit Mahatama Gandhi's 'samadhi' after ending his hunger strike because of health reason, reported The Economic Times.
Anna Hazare was to head to Rajghat after breaking his 13-day fast at 10 am Sunday for a stronger Lokpal, but his associates said he would not do so as he need immediate medical attention.
"His internal organs were affected and he will directly head to Medanta Medicity in Haryana's Gurgaon for a check-up, skipping Rajghat," Said Anna's associate.
According to Dr. Naresh Trehan and his team who monitor Anna's health for the past 13 days, Anna's blood pressure and some organs were affected.
Hazare had lost at least 7.5 kg since August 16 when he sat on a hunger strike for a strong Lokpal Bill. He now weighs 64.5 kg.
Parliament agreed to demands from Hazare to bring civil servants under the proposed agency's authority alongside parliament and the judiciary, ensure similar agencies at a state level and create a citizen's charter, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday.
"We are at a crossroads, let us try to find a solution within the constitutional framework without violating the supremacy of Parliament," Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha.
Following are the highlights of speech in Lok Sabha on Lokpal debate:
Highlights of Pranab Mukherjee's speech:
1) Would like to again appeal to Anna to end his fast
2) Discussions were held to discuss the draft of the Lokpal
3) There is agreement on 20 of 40 basic principles put forward by government and civil society activists
4) BJP chief's letter in June said civil society not decision makers, Parliament must have last word
5) Told Team Anna no immediate commitment possible
6) Explained to Team Anna that we need multi-layered laws
Pranab Mukherjee said there are six major issues of divergence:
1) One single act be provided for both Lokpal in Centre and Lokpal state. Will state government be willing to accept draft provisions for Lokayukta on same lines as Lokpal?
2) Should PM be covered by Lokpal?
3) Should judges of high Court and Supreme Court be brought within ambit of Lokpal?
4) Should conduct of MPs inside parliament be brought within purview of the Lokpal?
5) Should Lokpal have quasi-judicial powers?
6) Can all civil servants be punished and dismissed by Lokpal and Lokayuktas?
Highlights of Opposition leader in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj's speech:
1) Anna's agitation has become people's agitation
2) Historic debate in Parliament
3) Request MPs to debate the bill peacefully
4) Since 1968, this is the 9th time Lokpal Bill has come to Parliament
5) BJP also guilty for not passing Lokpal till now
6) Govt has always spoken in contradictory voices
7) Rahul Gandhi was allowed to preach during Zero Hour
8) Surprised at Rahul's statement yesterday
9) Rahul destroyed spirit of PM's speech in Parliament
10) PM should come under Lokpal but under two riders, national security & public order
Here is the points of drafts circulated by the government to political parties in Parliament:
1) That this house resolves through an appropriate law that an effective Lokpal and state Lokayukta be set up compatible to constitutional mechanism.
2) Employees of states and center are brought under the purview through appropriate mechanism.
3) All government departments to have citizen's charter with a timeline for the completion of any work
After Saturday's debate on stronger Lokpal Bill, Hazare's trademark white cap has been sported by thousands of protesters across the country, and the slogan "I am Anna" has become a rallying cry for a generation of young people disillusioned by their graft-stained politicians.
On this historic moment, Ramlila Maidan turned into a victory platform, after freshly shaved his stubble and wearing a spotless white Kurta-pyjama, standing on the stage with children wearing "I am Anna" cap Anna Hazare addressing to his 15,000 (approx) who came to cheer him. Tension is gone; Team Anna looks relaxed and smiling on stage.
- Thank all his supporters, "this is your victory"
- You have all struggled for last 13 days and this is the fruit of it
- I thank Dr Trehan and his team who attended to me well; I also thank the civil society members.
- All my supporters carried out the non-violent movement for 13 days, this is a lesson for the world.
- We must change the election system in the country. People must have the right reject.
- People power is bigger than Parliament.
- This is a victory for all the people.
- Fight has now begun for electoral reforms and changes in education and other sectors
- I have just deferred my agitation, the fight is on for Lokpal
- Don't remain silent even after passage of a strong Lokpal, continue your fight for change in system
- I have only suspended my agitation. I will not rest until all the changes that I look to are achieved.
- This movement has created a faith that the country can be rid of corruption and we can go ahead with implementing laws and the Constitution made by Dr B R Ambedkar.
- We have to reform electoral system. (We need) Right to Reject. You should be able to reject your candidate in the ballot paper. We have to do that. If majority say they do not like any of the candidates in the fray, the election should be cancelled. How much money they (candidates) will distribute? Once the candidate spends Rs. 10 crore for one election and if the election is cancelled, then right sense will dawn upon them,"
Here is a chronology of Anna Hazare and his team's activities:
- Jan 30: Marches in over 60 cities to demand anti-corruption Lokpal bill. Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, activist Swami Agnivesh and lawyer Prashant Bhushan participate in Delhi rally.
- Feb 26: Hazare announces fast unto death from April 5 if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh does not decide on civil society's inclusion in drafting the bill.
- April 5: Hazare starts fast at Delhi's Jantar Mantar.
- April 8: Hazare announces decision to end fast as government agrees to form 10-member panel of civil society members and union ministers to draft a stringent anti-corruption law.
- April 9: Hazare ends fast.
- April 16: Joint committee's first meet cordial. Both sides exchange drafts.
- May 2: Second meet with "no difference of opinion".
- May 7: Agreement on independent Lokpal with powers to initiate investigation and prosecution.
- May 23: Agreement on empowering Lokpal to order list of movable and immovable assets of accused in corruption cases when sufficient evidence found to book them.
- May 30: Differences appear as government disagrees on including prime minister, Supreme and High Court judges and MPs' conduct in parliament within Lokpal's ambit.
- June 6: Civil society members boycott meet a day after police crackdown against yoga guru Baba Ramdev's fast in Delhi's Ramlila Maidan.
- June 15: No consensus on inclusion of prime minister, Supreme and High Court judges.
- June 20: Some ice melts amid war of words; government calls it "major step forward".
- June 21: Last meeting of joint committee ends on sour note. Both sides exchange drafts; Hazare warns of another fast.
- Aug 15: Hazare denied permission to fast at Delhi's Jayaprakash Narayan Memorial Park after Team Anna agrees to accept only 16 of police's 22 conditions.
- Aug 16: Hazare begins fast, detained early morning and sent to seven-day judicial custody to Tihar jail. Government decides to set him free late night. He refuses.
- Aug 17: Hazare refuses to leave Tihar Jail till a solution is reached on fast venue. Supporters gather outside prison, Hazare continues fast from jail. Permitted to fast at Ramlila Maidan.
- Aug 19: Hazare leaves Tihar Jail, continues fast at Ramlila Maidan.
- Aug 23: Government invites Team Anna for talks.
- Aug 24: Second round of talks, all-party meeting held. No breakthrough in impasse.
- Aug 25: After meetings with political parties and Team Anna, government agrees to debate all versions of Lokpal bill in parliament.
- Aug 27: Both houses of parliament debate Lokpal bill, adjourn after adopting 'sense of the house' and agreeing to Hazare's three demands that will be sent to standing committee on Lokpal bill.
Aug 28: Anna breaks fast on 13th day.