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Team Anna ends fast, spells out political alternative

New Delhi(IANS): Anna Hazare and his three team members Friday ended their fast and spelled out a political alternative to provide a “clean and corruption-free” government.

Hazare, who ended his fast by sipping coconut water offered by former army chief Gen. V.K. Singh, however, made it clear that he will not be contesting elections, but will support his team members.

“I will keep going on tours, go to people for an alternative. If people are awakened, we will think of an (political) alternative,” Hazare said.

Hazare said if the Jan Lokpal bill, drafted by civil society activists, was adopted, it will make a major impact in fighting corruption.

“If Jan Lokpal bill comes, I do not say 100 percent but 65 percent corruption will vanish,” Hazare said as the crowd applauded the 75-year-old crusader.

The activist said his campaign was also aimed at giving power to people at the grassroots and bringing electoral reforms like right to recall and right to reject.

While Team Anna members Arvind Kejriwal, Gopal Rai and Manish Sisodia began their fast July 25, Hazare joined them four days later on July 29.

Looking frail, Kejriwal said that it would not be a political party but an “andolan” or movement.

“Our aim is not to grab power, but to end the Delhi-centric government and take governance to the villages and the people. Ours will not be a party, but a movement,” Kejriwal told the thousands gathered at the indefinite fast site in Jantar Mantar here.

He promised to provide a clean and corruption-free political alternative and slammed the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) for not passing the Jan Lokpal bill in the parliament.

Kejriwal, who has been on fast since the past 10 days causing concern over his weakening health condition, spoke for half-an-hour about the proposed movement and plans sitting on a chair on top of the dais.

“Our aim is not just to win the polls, it is to challenge all the political parties,” he said.
He added that they would take their agitation “inside parliament and on the streets”.

He also invited those in the ruling Congress and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party to join their “desh bhakt” movement if they were “feeling suffocated” in their respective parties.

“I have a vision that in three years, India will change,” he added. General elections will be held in India in 2014.

Lending his voice to Hazare’s anti-graft movement, Gen. Singh expressed his strong support to them.

“Team Anna must be prepared to face opposition from those who do not believe in democracy,” he said.

He also said Hazare had taken the right step by calling off the fast.

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