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Anna Hazare to lead farmers’ agitation in Delhi, flag off 5,000 farmers

PALWAL (HARYANA): Four years after he spearheaded the Jan Lokpal movement, veteran social activist Anna Hazare will return to Delhi on Monday to lead a farmers’ agitation. He will demand withdrawal of amendments to the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 introduced by the NDA government through an ordinance in December last year.

While the government claims the amendments are aimed at expediting development projects, Hazare has condemned the move saying it will end up benefitting only the corporate sector.

On Friday, the 77-year-old Gandhian held a roadshow and flagged off a padyatra of farmers in Palwal. The meeting drew farmers from various states.

The padyatra will be followed by a two-day sit-in at Jantar Mantar beginning Monday. “If necessary, we will also organize a big rally at Ramlila Maidan to press for our demands and launch a jail-bharo aandolan,” Hazare said, while addressing the farmers mostly from states such as Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Orissa.

Taking a swipe at PM Narendra Modi, he said the former had promised “achhe din” to the people during election campaigns but his actions have resulted in “achhe din” for a select few only.

It was in Palwal where Mahatma Gandhi had courted arrest for the first time when he was going to protest against the draconian Rowlatt Act almost a century ago.

Hazare, who visited Gandhi Ashram in Palwal, said he was launching another movement to free the poor from corrupt governments.

“In the past 68 years, since independence, nothing seems to have changed. Gore chale gaye, kaale reh gaye,” the Gandhian added, referring to rampant corruption and alleged lack of governance by the current and previous dispensations.

In August 2011, Hazare held a 12-day long fast at Ramlila Maidan which shook the political establishment. The UPA government, which was in power, agreed to consider his demands for citizens’ charter, inclusion of lower bureaucracy and creation of Lokayuktas in the states through the Lokpal Bill.

Hazare, who was dressed in his trademark white dhoti-kurta and the Gandhi topi, was flanked by activists such as Rajendra Singh, Aruna Roy, Medha Patkar, P V Rajagopalan and former RSS ideologue K Govindacharya.

Rajagopalan, the founding member of the Ekta Trust which has organized the protest, said the farmers will march to Delhi via Palwal and Faridabad on Tuesday. “Hundreds of farmers from Haryana, UP and other states will also join Hazare at Jantar Mantar,” he said.

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