Anna Hazare, whose four-day ultimatum to government on a decision on his demands ends today, said he would fast until we get Jan Lokpal
New Delhi: A poor crowd on a weekend at Team Anna's indefinite fast on Saturday did not deter Anna Hazare to threaten a fast-unto-death from tomorrow on Lokpal issue and talk about a political alternative in the 2014 elections, reports PTI.
Hazare also took on Congress and BJP saying the country's future does not lie safe in their hands but said he himself will not fight the elections though he would campaign for those with clean background selected by people.
He also accused the government of cheating them repeatedly on the issue of Lokpal and that he is forced to fast again and again, which is "not a happy thing".
"I will fast until we get Jan Lokpal," Hazare, whose four-day ultimatum to government on a decision on his demands ends today, told a crowd of around 1,000 this afternoon.
Talking about a political alternative for next Lok Sabha elections, the 74-year-old activist said if "good people" do not enter Parliament, there will be no change in system and country will not get a strong Lokpal.
"For a vote, Rs15,000, Rs20,000, Rs30,000 are given (to voters). Those who get elected are making money and they don't know where to keep this money. So they send it to foreign countries. Now it’s time to awaken the voters.
"Some are saying that we should give alternative, we should form a party. Rs15-Rs20 crore is spent by a candidate for Assembly elections and Rs50 crore for Lok Sabha polls. I will not fight elections. I will not put up a party," he said.
However, Hazare said, he will tour the country urging people to select people to fight elections. He said the team will probe their background and then put their names of Internet seeking people's opinion about them. .
"From them, we will put up some people for election. I will go for their campaigning and tell them that this is a good candidate and we need good people in Parliament...the country's future is not safe with Congress and BJP," Hazare said.
On the thinner crowd at the protest venue, he said those talking about it do not have the vision to see the crowd.
"The colour of your spectacle determines the colour you see," the Gandhian said and claimed that the movement is now on in 400 districts.
Hazare also said most of the big grounds remain unfilled even during election rallies of big parties. "By getting crowds alone, you won't get the work done. You have to work hard for it," he said.
The dwindling crowds were a concern for the organisers as Hazare's earlier protests had witnessed participation in large numbers.
Despite a weekend, the crowds were not there today and at around 11 am it was around 300 and rose to around 1,000 two hours later, belying the expectations of organisers who were hoping that a holiday may bring more people to the venue.
This was in stark contrast to earlier Hazare protests when the surge in numbers on weekend was so huge that the venues were jam packed.
The crowd count rose to around 3,500-4,000 yesterday but it was attributed to the supporters of yoga guru Ramdev, who addressed the protesters there.
There is the urgent need to ensure timely distribution of foodgrain in the affected states so that the people do not suffer
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) confirms that there is a monsoon deficit of 22% in the whole country. However, today’s press reports indicate that rainfall has been very inadequate in Punjab (66%) and Haryana (70%), where the situation is grim. In fact, it is feared that the situation could be worse than our 2009 experience.
According to Professor KV Thomas, minister of state (independent charge) for consumer affairs and public distribution, poor rains will not affect “foodgrain availability”. However, he feels the impact will be more on the production of pulses and oilseeds. This will also result in shortage of cattle-feed.
Earlier, some two weeks ago, Ashok Gulati, chairman of Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) had stated that “we have adequate foodgrain stocks” to tide over a monsoon failure. He had contended that, in fact, the food inflation was due to higher vegetable prices, particularly that of onion and potatoes.
Sensing the situation, activists of the Rights to Food campaign have written to the prime minister that the government need to stop the export of 2 million tonnes (MT) of wheat as they fear that these will be eventually used to feed the cattle, while people are starving in the country. Thus, the subsidized export should not be allowed; if not these will also land up in the black market. STC had cancelled export orders for 98,000 tonnes of wheat to a Swiss firm (Glencore) but had earlier sold some 30,000 tonnes at $238 whereas the global prices have gone up, with Ukraine/Russia selling at $278 while Chicago Board of Trade price hovered around $310.
The government must direct its attention to take care of the deteriorating situation in the affected areas first before allowing further export shipments.
Solution to overflowing stocks is not simply by so called exports, because of the past experience of false invoicing. There is the urgent need to ensure timely distribution of foodgrain in the affected states so that the people do not suffer.
Under the circumstances, the government has called for an urgent meeting of an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) to assess the grim situation; should they officially declare a ‘drought’, it will be third in the last decade.
Although the foodgrain stocks are currently estimated at 81 MT, there is likely to be a shortfall in the case of coarse cereals, oilseeds and pulses, which cannot be made up overnight. This means, in the very short run, some quantities of these may have to be imported, a decision that may figure in the ensuing meeting, apart from handling the crisis situation due to prospective monsoon failure.
It is needless to say that the affected farmers in the rainfall deficit states would require urgent assistance in every possible way.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce and was associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US. He can be contacted at [email protected].)
Despite robust sales and 27.5% jump in total revenues, Maruti Suzuki reported a sharp fall in its first quarter net profit mainly on forex loss
Maruti Suzuki India, the country’s largest passenger carmaker said its first quarter net profit fell 22.8% due to adverse currency movements, notably the yen-rupee exchange rates.
For the quarter to end-June, the car maker, a unit of Japanese Suzuki Motor Corporation, said its net profit fell to Rs423 crore from Rs549 crore while net sales rose 27.5% to Rs10,529.2 crore from Rs8,256.6 crore, same quarter last year.
The company, in a regulatory filing, said market demand continued to be skewed in favour of diesel cars while petrol cars suffered a sharp de-growth during the quarter.
During the June quarter, Maruti Suzuki registered a 5.1% growth in sales. Between April-June 2012, the company sold 2,95,896 units, including exports, compared with 2,81,526 units a year ago period. In the June quarter, the carmaker exported 32,632 units.
“The growth in net sales was on account of higher total volumes, favourable product mix and enhanced export realisations,” the company said.