New Delhi: The indefinite fast announced by the 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 give one or two speeches in one 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 get up 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)