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Anna Hazare Back at Ramlila Maidan, This Time Against BJP Govt; Traffic Advisory Issued

Before commencing the strike, Anna Hazare paid respects to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat and took on the BJP government over the delay in implementing a “competent Lokpal” and in giving better support price to farmers.

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Updated:March 23, 2018, 12:32 PM IST
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Anna Hazare Back at Ramlila Maidan, This Time Against BJP Govt; Traffic Advisory Issued
Social activist Anna Hazare prays at Rajghat before beginning his anti-corruption protest. (Niraj Tiwari/Network18)
New Delhi: Social activist Anna Hazare began his indefinite hunger strike against the Centre in Delhi on Friday, nearly seven years after his anti-corruption movement caught the imagination of millions of Indians and shook the then UPA government.

Before commencing the strike, Hazare paid respects to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat and took on the BJP government over the delay in implementing a “competent Lokpal” and in giving better support price to farmers.

“You (government) cancelled trains carrying protesters to Delhi. You want to push them to violence. Police force was deployed for me as well. I wrote in many letters that I don't need any police protection. Your protection won't save me. This sly attitude of the government is not done,” news agency ANI quoted Hazare as saying.

The venue of Hazare’s latest protest will be the same iconic Ramlila Maidan, where he had sat on a hunger strike in 2011 demanding that the then government set up a Lokpal to investigate cases of corruption. This time, however, his target is expected to be the Narendra Modi-led BJP government.

Hazare has been pressing for setting up of the Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in the states, besides implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report, which has suggested ways to address the agrarian distress.

Hazare previously has accused the Union government of not appointing the Lokpal to investigate the cases of corruption, despite having a law in place.

The day, March 23, has been chosen on purpose as Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged to death on this day by the British, an aide said.

The 2011 anti-graft agitation by Hazare, which aimed at the increasing corruption cases that had surfaced during the UPA rule, had received the support of millions of people across the country. Some of the main organisers behind that anti-corruption movement later formed the Aam Aadmi Party, which now governs Delhi. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was one of Hazare's key aides.

The Delhi Traffic Police has issued an advisory warning commuters to avoid taking routes towards Aruna Asaf Ali Road, Delhi Gate, Darya Ganj, New Delhi Railway Station, Ajmeri Gate, Paharganj, ITO, Rajghat, Minto Road, Vivekanand Marg, and JLN Marg.

(With PTI inputs)

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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