Ahmednagar, Jan 30 : Social activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday began a hunger strike over "non-fulfilment" of assurances by the Centre and the state government on appointment of Lokpal and passage of the Lokayukta Act in Maharashtra.
Mr Hazare offered prayers at the Padmavati Temple in his village Ralegan-Siddhi in this district in the morning and then went in a procession, accompanied by students, youths and farmers, to the Yadavbaba Temple and sat near it to begin his hunger strike. The anti-corruption crusader welcomed the Maharashtra Cabinet’s decision to bring the office of the Chief Minister under the jurisdiction of Lokayukta.
"However, the strike will continue till the government fulfils promises they had made before coming to power about passage of Lokayukta Act, appointment of Lokpal and to tackle farmers’ issues," he said. Mr Hazare had written a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday, saying he would launch the agitation in his village from Wednesday.
"It has been five years since the Lokpal Act was passed. Yet the Narendra Modi-led government has not appointed Lokpal...Lokayukta Act has not been passed in Maharashtra for last four years," he had written in his letter. Mr Hazare also said he had withdrawn the agitation at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi in March last year after the central government had assured in writing that it would fulfil the demands.
Apart from the appointment of Lokpal at the national level and Lokayukta in states, the activist has been demanding for implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations and some electoral reforms. State minister Girish Mahajan, who has been acting as an emissary between the government and Mr Hazare, had on Tuesday urged activist to cancel the agitation, claiming that almost all the demands made by him were fulfilled.
"His first demand was implementing the Swaminathan Commission recommendations, that farmers should get 1.5 times minimum support price (MSP). I think that demand has been fulfilled," Mr Mahajan had told reporters in Mumbai. Mr Hazare, however, said he would not call off agitation till the Lokayukta Act becomes a reality. (UNI)