The Shiv Sena on Monday told the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre to save the life of social activist Anna Hazare. Hazare has been on a fast for the last six days at Ralegan Siddhi village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra to protest against the delay in appointment of a Lokpal at the Centre and the passage of the Lokayukta Act in Maharashtra. On Sunday, he threatened to return his Padma Bhushan award.
An editorial in Saamana claimed that the government may be hoping that Hazare dies fasting, and labelled this a symptom of the decline in Maharashtra’s political culture. “The same party which supported Hazare’s agitation for the Lokpal bill during the reign of the Congress-led government is now opposed to his fast,” the Shiv Sena said.
“Hazare faces criticism for being adamant and stubborn,” the party added. “But these are the character traits of selfless people. Similar characteristics are found in Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well, but it is portrayed as his greatness.”
The Shiv Sena also claimed that Modi sent Hazare a letter wishing him luck for his indefinite fast. In response to Hazare’s letter to Modi on February 2, the Prime Minister’s Office reportedly sent: “Your letter was received, thank you and best wishes.”
The Shiv Sena alleged that the Centre was managing the media to prevent coverage of the fast. “If Anna’s agitation spreads across the country like last time, then there will be chaos in the country,” the editorial said. “The government is trying to keeping the coverage low.”
Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray had on Sunday appealed to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Maharashtra government to intervene in Hazare’s hunger strike and urged it to not “play” with his life.
Raj Thackeray and water conservation activist meet Hazare
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray and water conservation activist Rajendra Singh met Hazare on Monday, PTI reported.
Thackeray met Hazare at his protest site in Ralegan Siddhi, extended his support for the agitation and asked the social activist not to sacrifice his life for a “useless” government. Instead, Thackeray suggested that Hazare should accompany him on a joint tour of the state to “bury” the BJP-led government.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief told reporters that he asked the social activist not to trust Modi or his promises. Thackeray claimed that Modi had on December 18, 2013, tweeted in favour of the Lokpal, but no action was taken on it after he came to power.
Singh, on the other hand, warned Hazare that the Centre will play the same “game” with him as it had played with activist GD Agarwal, who died in October after a 111-day fast demanding action to save the Ganga. Singh added that some non-governmental organisations will join Hazare’s protest in a couple of days.