Ailing Anna to end fast

Mumbai : Bowing to appeals from doctors, Anna Hazare, hit by viral fever, said he was ending his three-day fast a day earlier Wednesday but vowed to keep fighting for a “strong Lokpal”.

A day after the Lok Sabha passed the government’s Lokpal bill trashed by Team Anna, Hazare declared from the stage at the MMRDA ground that “we will end our fast” Wednesday.

He also pledged to tour all five states which will see elections early next year to campaign against those who did not vote for his “Jan Lokpal bill”.

“This is the only way forward after seeing what happened in parliament yesterday,” he said, referring to the passage of the Lokpal bill Tuesday night in the Lok Sabha.

Looking fatigued and speaking slowly, the 74-year-old activist said he had originally decided to fast for three days, until Thursday. But an illness had forced him to skip food for the past four days.

His announcement came shortly after doctors pressed him to end his fast without delay, saying his temperature and rising blood pressure could lead to kidney failure.

Ashwin Mehta, who examined Hazare at noon, said Hazare’s blood pressure in lying condition was 120/90 and in standing condition was 105/70.

“This means he is dehydrated. This may lead to kidney failure. We strongly advice him to discontinue fasting.”

Team Anna members also made the same appeal, saying his long-term health was of major concern.

“This is the start of a long fight,” Hazare said, speaking slowly in Hindi. “Maybe it will take 10 to 15 to 20 years for us to succeed.”

He blamed the political leadership for spiking the moves to introduce an effective Lokpal bill to combat corruption.

“The only one path available to us to campaign in every state (asking people) not to vote for those who betrayed us, those who killed the Jan Lokpal. Don’t vote for them.”

Goa, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab will elect new assemblies in the February-March elections.

Earlier, Hazare confidant Arvind Kejriwal trashed the Lokpal bill, saying it was meant to protect the corrupt and not to kill corruption.

“This Lokpal is a danger to our democracy,” he said.

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