Anna Hazare to fast at MMRDA ground; rejects proposal to shift venue

Anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare has decided to continue with his planned fast at the MMRDA ground in Mumbai despite the Bombay High Court's criticism of his associates seeking special favours for conducting the fast.

Hazare vowed to go ahead with his three-day fast in Mumbai from 27 December at the MMRDA ground, for which he planned to raise the required rent of Rs7 lakh through donations.

The Bombay HC had rejected a petition filed by Jagrut Nagrik Manch, an affiliate of Anna Hazare's India Against Corruption, seeking direction to the state government to allot the MMRDA ground in suburban Bandra-Kurla Complex either free-of-cost or at a concessional rate. (See: PIL filed over venue for Anna's Mumbai fast)

The high court said it cannot allow "parallel canvassing" when Parliament is debating on the Lokpal bill and that there was no justification for the campaigners to seek exemption from charges to use MMRDA grounds for the proposed fast.

The court said it cannot ask government authorities to favour persons or organistions, through grant of exemptions

"MMRDA will give some concessions and the ground hire cost will be Rs7 lakh. The donations will be accepted only by cheque and draft. We will also keep tab on the donors," he said in his native village Ralegan Siddhi.

This time, Hazare said, his close aides Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi will join him in his fast in Mumbai while another group of activists will go on hunger strike in Delhi.