By Ritu Sharma
Deteriorating health yesterday forced India’s anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare to call off a planned three-day strike during its second day.
Hazare began his fast on December 27 in Mumbai to press the government to adopt a stronger law to combat corruption than the one approved the same day by parliament.
Kiran Bedi, a close associate of Hazare, said today that ill health was the main reason for ending the fast.
She said Hazare had developed a high fever and that doctors attending him warned that continuing the fast could lead to kidney failure.
She added that there was “nothing much to do” with respect to the anti-corruption bill, which the lower house of parliament passed yesterday but which Hazare and supporters have dismissed as weak and dangerous.
The lower house of parliament passed the bill on December 27, and the upper house was expected to approve it today.
Bedi said Hazare has also put on hold a call to the public to fill jails in protest over what he called a failure to enact an effective bill to check graft.
However the anti-graft crusader’s supporters have announced plans to campaign against the bill in five states where legislative elections are scheduled to begin next month.
“Now we are planning to raise voter awareness,” Bedi said, adding that voters have little choice in elections as political parties field candidates who follow only party lines.
Speaking to reporters in Mumbai today, Hazare said his next goal would be to “vote out” those who voted for the new law.
He said it was necessary to remove those people to “ensure that our future generations are safe.”