New Delhi: 2:45 pm: Reacting to the reports of protests by NSUI members at the Team Anna fast venue, Congress leader V Narayanasamy said that the allegations were unfounded. "As far as Congress or NSUI is concerned, we are not a party of violence and follow democratic principles. The allegation is unfounded. It's unfortunate that they are making allegation against NSUI, which is not acceptable. They are trying to divert the attention of people. Team Anna is maligning us," he said.
1.48 pm: Congress leader Ambika Soni on Wednesday slammed Team Anna, saying "corruption charges against central ministers are not acceptable." "On a day when the whole nation is celebrating new President, there is no need for a fast. We are looking into the Lokpal issue."
1.33 pm: Team Anna member Sazia Ilmi has claimed that there is a threat to Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal and demanded more security at Jantar Mantar.
1.15 pm: Anna Hazare said the government was scared of a strong Lokpal Bill. "There is no intention on the part of government to bring a strong Lokpal," Anna said.
12:22 pm: National Students' Union of India (NSUI) created ruckus at Team Anna's fast at Jantar Mantar. Many NSUI supporters gathered at Jantar Mantar and staged protests against Team Anna. Police have detained some of them.
12:10 pm: Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare along with Arvind Kejriwal, Gopal Rai and Manish Sisodia arrived at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday.
11.58 am: In Bangalore, Indian Against Corruption (IAC) is conducting protests for a stronger Lokpal at the Freedom Park. Former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde is taking part in the protests, which is in support of Team Anna's protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
11.33 am: Social activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday said that the fast is not a pressure tactic. "We are going to Gandhi Samadhi. We will pray that government gets 'sadbudhi' (right path). We only want a strong Lokpal. At least four times, ministers have written to us saying that they want a strong Lokpal. This is not pressure tactics. This is 'Satyagraha'."
11.12 am: Team Anna member Kiran Bedi on Wednesday criticised government on the issue of corruption, saying "When a minister misappropriates or allows misappropriation to happen, it is policy. But when ordinary people do it, it is considered crime. 2G was policy, coal scam is policy."
11 am: Reacting to the Team Anna fast, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said that Team Anna has exhausted its relevance to the national politics. "And because they are quite irrelevant I have nothing else to say," he said.
10:45 am: Just before the start of an indefinite fast, Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal has tweeted, "मेरे सीने में नहीं,तो तेरे सीने में सही;हो कहीं भी आग,लेकिन आग जलनी चाहिए..Fight 2 make India Free from Corruption! Save India!Good Morning".
10:30 am: Many people who have come to the Team Anna's fast venue are from the India Against Corruption (IAC), NGOs and other social groups who have been working with the anti-corruption crusader in his fight against corruption. A majority of the common public gathered here don't have any idea about the issue.
9.20 am: Some supporters of Anna Hazare and his team started pouring in at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday morning. People mainly from India Against Corruption were seen at Jantar Mantar shouting slogans in support of Anna Hazare.
The indefinite fast announced by Team Anna to demand an independent probe into allegations of corruption against 15 ministers will begin from Wednesday at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal had warned that they would release details of corruption against President-elect Pranab Mukherjee during his swearing-in ceremony. Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai will sit on the fast. Anna Hazare, however, said he will join the fast from Sunday. According to reports, Team Anna will visit the Rajghat at 10.30 am and will arrive at Jantar Mantar for the fast at 11 am. Sources say Kejriwal is diabetic and will deliver one or two speeches a day.
Speaking to CNN-IBN's Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Kejriwal vowed an indefinite fast if the government did not set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into the graft cases against the central ministers. "If the government doesn't set up an SIT, the discontent within the people will grow. It's an indefinite fast. We are committed to ending our fast only once SIT is set up," he said.
"Out of 34 ministers in the Cabinet, 15 ministers are facing serious corruption charges. There is a direct conflict of interest. If the Jan Lokpal had been there, independent investigations would have started against these ministers. Pranab Mukherjee would never have become the President and even the Prime Minister would have to resign," he added.
Earlier, Anna Hazare on Tuesday announced that he will go on an indefinite fast from July 29 if the government fails to take immediate steps to check corruption in high places.
Reversing his earlier decision, Anna said he will join his team members if the government does not agree to their demands within four days of their fast which will begin from Wednesday; the day president-elect Pranab Mukherjee will be sworn in.
The members also hit out at the president-elect and termed his election as 'unfortunate'.
However, there were different voices from Anna Hazare and his team members. While Anna spoke mostly on Jan Lokpal Bill, his team members focussed on rampant corruption in the government and its institution. Anna asserted that the fast it is for the Lokpal Bill while his aides said it is limited to their three demands, including a special probe into allegations against corrupt ministers.
"They (Team Anna members) suggested I don't fast. I will give four days to the government to agree to our demand and if they don't, I will sit on an indefinite fast from July 29," said Anna, who had earlier decided not to go on fast due to his health problems. "Even if I die, I will die for my country," said the social activist.
Anna's earlier protests stirred a nationwide movement. His protests also forced the government to introduce the Lokpal bill in the parliament. Though the Lok Sabha passed the bill, the Rajya Sabha is yet to clear it.
Questions were raised at a press conference on Tuesday about the demands of the team as Anna spoke only about Lokpal Bill while his close aides Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan talked about other three demands.
Asked to clarify the position whether Lokpal Bill is an issue for the protest, Bhushan said their protest is 'limited' to an SIT probe against Ministers, a fast track court to try cases against MPs and the SIT to go into allegations against party chiefs.
However, Anna immediately took the microphone and said "the fight is for Lokpal Bill" and went on to add that till the 15 ministers against whom they have raised allegations are jailed if they are guilty, the country would not get a strong anti-corruption mechanism.
Kejriwal said the country would not get a Lokpal if the corrupt ministers did not go to jail.
On the fast, Anna said he was persuaded by his team not to sit on fast from Wednesday because of his health. "I have told my villagers that I will also sit on fast from tomorrow. My blood pressure is also fluctuating. But the team told me that the fight is long and I should not fast now. I acceeded to their wish. But I will wait till four days what the government does. Then I will start my fast from Sunday," he said.
Team Anna had earlier announced that Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai would sit on indefinite fast. "This is a fight to finish. Not to participate (in the fast), is not right. Till the government concedes, the fight will go on," Anna said.
Team Anna had earlier announced that Kejriwal, Manish
(With additional inputs from PTI, IANS)