Day 2: Crowds dwindle further at Anna's fast
Villagers from Ralegan Siddhi are expected to reach Mumbai on Wednesday to support Anna Hazare in his protest fast.
Mumbai: The sprawling MMRDA Grounds in Mumbai, the venue for Anna Hazare's protest fast, wore a deserted look on Wednesday with only security personnel, journalists and a handful of Team Anna activists in attendance.
The mercury in Mumbai touched a 10-year low of 11.4 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, driving away supporters from the venue. Similar weather conditions are likely to continue on Wednesday.
Even the speeches delivered by activists did not elicit much strong response from the gathered few.
Concern over Anna Hazare's health weighing on their minds, villagers of Ralegan Siddhi are expected to reach Mumbai on Wednesday, the second day of his fast for a strong Lokpal Bill.
"About seven to eight vehicles, carrying people of Ralegan, including the village sarpanch, are reaching Mumbai," Hazare's associate Datta Awari said.
The village observed a bandh on Tuesday as students went on a token day-long fast and a candle-light march was taken out.
They remained glued to TV to watch the proceedings at MMRDA ground on day one of the latest anti-corruption agitation launched by Hazare, he said.
Hazare has decided to continue with his fast rejecting appeals by his close aides Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi to call it off.
Handful Anna supporters at Ramlila Maidan
Team Anna's protest against a "weak" Lokpal Bill remained a damp squib for the second day on Wednesday as supporters refused to be drawn to Ramlila Maidan.
Security personnel were more visible as barely 200 people gathered at the 30,000-capacity Maidan in New Delhi on Wednesday morning and even prominent Team Anna members were conspicuous by their absence.
This is in sharp contrast to the 30,000 to 40,000 people who had poured in during Anna Hazare's fast at this venue in August. His two other fasts at Jantar Mantar in the past eight months had also witnessed a large turnout.
Organisers attributed the thin crowd to winter chill and absence of Anna Hazare.
The protest was scheduled to start at 10 am but even after an hour, the Ramlila Maidan wore a deserted look with a handful of supporters.
Recorded music was played at the venue with the supporters waving Tricolour and launching into sporadic sloganeering against government.
The protest had elicited a lukewarm response yesterday with the programme starting with a low 500 turnout. This morning the numbers dwindled.
With Additional Inputs from PTI
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