New Delhi: 6.05 pm: Key Team Anna member and senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan has defended the decision of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare to provide a political alternative to the people.
Speaking to CNN-IBN, Bhushan has said the only option left with Team Anna is to bring revolution.
4.06 pm: Anna Hazare said that a political alternative to the government will be found. "We will travel across the country for the next two years," he said.
4.03 pm: Team Anna will call off their fast at 5 pm on Friday.
3.59 pm: Reacting to Anna Hazare's speech, Congress leader Ambika Soni said that it's good that Team Anna's political intentions are out in open. "We were saying this from first day that Team Anna inspired by politics. It's good that their intentions are out in the open. It's best they come out and be part of the same system they abuse always. If they call off their fast, it's a good thing. Don't hold government to ransom. They have made their point and accusing the government of not bringing Lokpal is not true. It's passed in Lok Sabha and its now with Select Committee," she said.
3.45 pm: Arvind Kejriwal addresses crowd at Jantar Mantar:
- This government is deaf and mute. They do not want to pass the Lokpal Bill. All parties are corrupt.
- Our movement is for decentralisation of power, power in the hands of the common man, power to people
- Our movement is for the change of system and not for change of government
- 90 per cent of the people want us to provide a political alternative
- Former General VK Singh, Justice Ayer have requested to end fast
- Several personalities have requested to Anna to end the fast
Anna Hazare addresses crowd at Jantar Mantar:
- Let Gram Sabhas decide whether they want to support clean candidate and the new party
- I will not enter politics. Choosing the right candidate is important. Candidates will be scanned. Need to have the spirit of service, must be patriotic, and non corrupt.
- Blueprint of political alternative or new party: Decentralisation of power, Secularism
- Today people need political alternative
- Things that have not changed in 65 year will change in next 3 year
- We have to send right people in the Parliament who don't change once they are elected.
- We will have to see from where the funds will come from, in case we plan to give a political alternative
- We need decentralisation of power for a political alternative
- The question is - will we be able to give the country the right and correct leadership?
- You should give options
- I also feel that the government is not going to bring Lokpal Bill
- Government does not want to redress Right to Reject, farmers issues, labour issues. We have to give options
- I agree that we have to give option. Parliament needs to have people with integrity then only the political option will work. How are we going to choose people with integrity?
2.50 pm: Former BJP leader KN Govindacharya on Thursday appealed to Team Anna to climb down from their position for a peaceful solution to the present impasse and asked the government to hold talks with them. Govindacharya said he was extremely worried about the health of Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal and that he fully supports their cause. "We strongly condemn the strong-headed attitude of the government that is failing to take initiative to break the logjam," he said in a letter to Hazare and Kejriwal.
2.30 pm: The official twitter handle of India Against Corruption (IAC) as well as its official website on Thursday put a poser to the public asking "should Annaji provide a political alternative to the country? Reply YES or NO to this tweet?" It also tweeted a link which goes to an Internet page which put up two questions -- Do you have any hope from the existing political parties and Should Annaji provide a political alternative to the country?
2.15 pm: Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan asks if people agree with the proposal of eminent citizens to end fast and work toward political alternatives. He has also invited response from people across the country. He said next two days would be crucial.
2.02 pm: An Anna Hazare supporter on Thursday confronted Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy when the minister was interacting with the media outside North Block. A man claiming to be Anna supporter started asking him 'kab bolega tu Lokpal per..kab? (When will you speak on Lokpal?)". Security moved him aside. He later identified himself as an Anna supporter who wanted an answer from the minister on Lokpal.
1.45 pm: Eminent citizens like VR Krishna Iyer, former Army chief General VK Singh, former election commissioner JM Lyndogh, Santosh Hegde, Kuldip Nayar and actor Anupam Kher among others have appealed to Team Anna to end their fast. Retired Naval Chief Tahilyani read out a letter by the eminent citizens at Jantar Mantar.
1.30 pm: Left leader Sitaram Yechury on Thursday said that the government should come forward for talks with Team Anna. "Let them enter politics. Let there be an exchange of ideas. We will see the nature of their political platform. They had painted the entire political class with the same brush which was unfortunate. Dialogue is essence of democracy. The Lokpal bill is with the Standing Committee of Parliament. The government should be open to dialogue," he said.
1.05 pm: The sarpanch of Anna Hazare's native village Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district on Thursday left for Delhi along with some other villagers to meet the social activist. "Sarpanch Jaisinh Mapari and a few villagers left Ralegan this morning to meet Anna," Hazare's aide Datta Awari said. In the evening, the villagers would organise a morcha at Padmavati temple in Ralegan in support of Hazare, he said.
12.35 pm: Actor Anupam Kher said that Team Anna's leadership is necessary for taking the anti-corruption movement forward. "It is our duty to raise voice against corruption. It is necessary that this voice reaches the masses. I appeal to all fasting activists, including Arvind, to call off their fast," he told reporters at Jantar Mantar.
"I have not come here to show my face at Jantar Mantar. I am here as a common man participate in the andolan. It's hameful that people are fasting and there is no initiative from the government. This andolan will continue as corruption cannot be rooted out from the society overnight," he said.
12.25 pm: Bollywood actor Anupam Kher on Thursday appealed to Team Anna to end the fast. Actress Archana Puran Singh too joined Team Anna on the stage.
12.05 pm: None of the fasting activists took to the dais till 11:30 am though a crowd of around 500 gathered at the protest venue at Jantar Mantar here. Anna Hazare came to the stage along with Bollywood actor Anupam Kher a little later.
11.50 am: Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai have refused hospitalisation despite their health condition worsening and a warning from police that organisers will be "sqaurely responsible" if anything happens to the fasting activists.
11.25 am: Doctors who are attending Team Anna members on Thursday said that Arvind Kejriwal has refused to take liquid diet. "We took Arvind Kejriwaloff medicines and controlled food intake. He was on vegetable juices and fruits for days before the fast. We are confident that the three can carry it for as long as they don't become nervous. If they become nervous, we have to break the fast," doctor Ran Singh Arya said.
11.10 am: The condition of Arvind Kejrwial, Gopal Rai and Manish Sisodia is stable at the moment.
10.40 am: Team Anna member Kiran Bedi has reiterated that she will not ask members to break their fast, and said let the Delhi Police go about doing its job. "I have already said they are here to sacrifice. Corruption in high places is policy and at low places is theft."
Fearing forcible hospitalization of three fasting activists, including Arvind Kejriwal, scores of Team Anna supporters kept vigil throughout the night at the Jantar Mantar protest venue. Corruption in high places is policy and at low places is theft," she said.
The intervening night of August one and two saw around 300 supporters camping at the protest venue, where the fast of Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai entered the ninth day on Thursday, and keeping a watch on every step of policemen.
At 1 am, even the routine change of duty of police personnel was initially perceived by protesters as a sign of mobilisation to forcibly take Kejriwal and two others two hospital.
A volunteer immediately alerted others and as supporters started gathering, a senior police official informed them that it was change of duty of personnel and they were there not to take anybody to hospital.
The night also saw groups of protesters leaving for residences of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to stage protest in a bid to step up pressure on the government to initiate talks.
Delhi Police had on Wednesday advised Team Anna to hospitalise the trio and warned that they would be "squarely responsible" if anything happened to the fasting activists.
Team Anna had rejected the government hospital report advising hospitalisation, saying it was "fake" and their doctors announced that they were fit to continue the fast as their vital parameters were stable.
Police personnel were deployed in large numbers at the site following bomb blasts in Pune and bomb disposal squads checked the protest venue in the night and early this morning.
(With additional inputs from PTI)