India Activist Anna Hazare Set to Call Off Fast

by
staff
Leading Indian anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare is set to call off a hunger strike after hinting at entering politics to fight corruption.

Anna Hazare is protesting against the government's anti-corruption bill

Leading Indian anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare is set to call off a hunger strike after hinting at entering politics to fight corruption.

Mr Hazare began an indefinite fast on Sunday along with two key aides, Arvind Kejriwal and Gopal Rai.

He has announced that he will end the fast on Friday and said he was open to participating in politics.

Mr Hazare has been campaigning for the strong anti-corruption Lokpal bill.

The Lokpal bill was passed by the lower house of parliament but the upper house adjourned amid chaos in December without passing the controversial legislation.

It would empower an independent ombudsman to prosecute politicians and civil servants suspected of corruption.

Mr Hazare's decision to call off the fast came after the health of Mr Kejriwal and Mr Rai deteriorated.

Though Mr Hazare said he would not contest any polls, he was open to forging a "political alternative" to fight corruption.

"I do not think the government has the intention of taking strong steps against corruption," Mr Hazare told supporters on Thursday.

"Many people are asking me to give an alternative. Now I think that they are right and it is time to give the country an alternative. We want a political alternative."

Mr Hazare's aides said they had sought responses from people on the kind of political participation they wanted to fight corruption.

A 12-day fast by Mr Hazare last August almost brought the government to its knees and led to the introduction of the Lokpal bill in parliament.

He started another hunger strike in December but called it off and threatened instead to launch a campaign of civil disobedience that would fill the country's jails.