Team Anna on Wednesday began its fast in the national capital demanding an independent probe into the allegations of corruption against 15 ministers, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pranab Mukherjee.
Key Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal is spearheading the agitation with Anna Hazare expected to join in only on Sunday, that’s if the government doesn’t give in to their demands.
Kejriwal had earlier said that he would furnish the details of Pranab Mukherjee’s alleged involvement in corruption on Wednesday.
The agitation at the Ramlila Maidan had its share of drama as well as a group, claiming to be from the National Students Union of India, the students wing of the Congress party, created ruckus at the venue shouting slogans against Team Anna. However, the NSUI denied the charge.
Minutes after Anna Hazare and his close aides took the dais at Jantar Mantar around noon, a group of around 20-30 members among the crowd wearing ‘I am Anna’ caps shouted slogans against Arvind Kejriwal but were removed from the venue.
A minor scuffle ensued but no one was injured. The protesters were taken out of the venue where they continued sloganeering against Kejriwal.
Team Anna member Kumar Vishwas, meanwhile, said they would release an audio clip, which, he claimed, was recorded by a volunteer. Activists suspected to be of the NSUI are purportedly taped saying ‘Give Anna a push and beat up Arvind and Manish’, he said.
V Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the PMO, dubbed as “baseless and unfounded” the allegations levelled by Team Anna that NSUI activists had tried to disrupt their agitation.
“The allegations are unfounded and without any fact. They are trying to divert the attention of the people by leveling such allegations,” he said, adding that Congress has full faith in democratic principles and not in violence.
Hazare, who has announced that he will join fast on Sunday if the government does not concede to the demands on Lokpal Bill, sat on a dharna while his aides – Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai – started the fast. They reached the dharna spot after paying a visit to Rajghat.
Attacking Mukherjee, who was on Wednesday sworn-in as the new President, Kejriwal said they will continue to raise allegations against him. Team Anna had earlier named Mukherjee among 15 Union Ministers against whom they had demanded an independent probe into their allegations of corruption.
At the protest site, Team Anna covered the photograph of Mukherjee with a cloth as Kejriwal alleged that Congress has now managed to put a ‘chadar’ on the allegations against its leader.
“According to Constitution, the President has immunity against any investigation. We have given evidence against Mukherjee to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi two months ago. But there was no probe.
“In the name of Constitution, now government has masked the allegations against him. We condemn this,” Kejriwal said.