Latest campaign fizzles out due to lack of support.
Anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare called off his latest hunger strike Friday due to dwindling support and government apathy.
The veteran activist, who has campaigned for the appointment of an independent ombudsman to prosecute suspected corrupt officials, says he is open to a more political strategy ahead of the next general election, scheduled for 2014.
Ahead of calling off his latest campaign that began last Sunday, Hazare said his team would support candidates committed to “patriotism” and the “country’s development” in the next election.
While he said he would not join a political party, his colleagues could enter the political fray as an independent group.
Prominent figures had been urging Hazare to end his hunger strike.
Unlike earlier campaigns last year that drew tens of thousands of people, and put pressure on the government, only 2,000 supporters were at the Jantar Mantar hunger strike venue today.
Hazare said he would end his fast at 5 pm local time.
His team had complained that no government official had been in contact with them during the latest fast.
It has also been marked by low turnouts, contradictory statements and the leveling of wild accusations against the government and officials.
Hazare’s decision to adopt a more political approach has provoked a mixed reaction around the country.
Former supporter Swami Agnivesh accused Hazare of turning attempts to stamp out graft into a “joke” and called on him to apologize to the nation.
Yogendra Yadav, an analyst at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, said Hazare’s team required “a proper strategy, substantial funds and infrastructure as well as clear goals,” if it planned to start a political party.
However, Vinod Mehta, a top New Delhi journalist, thought Hazare and his team was heading “in the right direction.”
They could get a few parliamentary seats if they can put corruption high up on the agenda at the next election, he said during told a televised debate yesterday.
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