New Delhi, Aug 2 Anna Hazare and his team members Thursday announced they were calling off their indefinite fast against corruption at 5 p.m. Friday and said they would seek a referendum on forming a "political alternative".
Hazare, who has been on fast at Jantar Mantar since July 29, announced he and Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai were calling off their fast.
Hazare told the gathering that the government was not listening to them and was not willing to pass the Jan Lokpal bill, and asked them if the people wanted a political alternative. The crowd cheered "yes, yes."
Hazare then said: "The time has come to give a political alternative".
He added: "There is no harm in giving a political alternative, but only those people should go to parliament who love the country and have a clean background."
Hazare said he will "not join the system but will support it from outside".
He added that if he decides to support a political alternative, "then I should be sure that no corrupt person has reached parliament. If you want to change the government, then we need to plan and make a system".
He also proposed a kind of a referendum on the political alternative, saying the activists would seek the opinion of 6.5 lakh gram sabhas, or village councils, on whether they would support such a move. And "if four lakh gram sabhas vow to support us, then we can give an alternative."
India Against Corruption media coordinator Aswathi Muralidharan told IANS: "The government is insensitive...it is not passing the Lokpal bill or setting up special teams to probe corruption charges against 14 ministers in the central government."