Anna Hazare sits on his third fast for strong Lokpal Bill

Raising the pitch on Lokpal issue, Anna Hazare today sat on a day-long fast here protesting against watered-down proposals of Parliamentary Standing Committee on the anti-graft measure. Hazare began his fast at around 10:15AM at Jantar Mantar, the protest hotspot in the capital, surrounded by a number of supporters who waved the tri-colour, sporadically shouting slogans like 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'. "My fast has begun. I will not speak much now," he told his supporters as he also chanted 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and 'Vande Mataram'. Clad in his trade-mark white kurta and Gandhi cap, Hazare was received at the protest venue with a thunderous applause and sloganeering by his supporters who had gathered at the venue braving the morning chill. Along with Hazare, prominent members of Team Anna like Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh and Kumar Vishwas also joined the fast. Before heading to Jantar Mantar, Hazare went to Rajghat and spend around 30 minutes meditating there. "I am fine and healthy," he told reporters. This is Hazare's third protest on the issue and second at Jantar Mantar. The first one, which was a five-day fast from April 5 at Jantar Mantar, had drawn huge crowds. The government had then set up a joint committee comprising official representatives and activists to draft the Lokpal Bill. The 74-year-old activist, who had gone on his second fast that lasted 13 days at Ramlila Maidan in August on the same issue, has been demanding bringing lower bureaucracy within the ambit of the Lokpal besides provisions for Citizen's Charter and setting up of Lokayuktas under a central law. The government as well as Standing Committee have rejected it. Hazare has also threatened to go on an indefinite fast from December 27 at Ramlila Maidan if a strong Lokpal bill is not passed in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament.

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