Gen. Singh set to join Team Anna

With desired number of supporters not showing up at the protest venue, despite the presence of the anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare, Team Anna is now trying to get the former chief of army staff Gen. V K Singh to join them at Jantar Mantar. On Thursday, a representative of the former army chief discussed the possibility of the former general joining the agitation with the members of Team Anna. 'I represent the general. He could not come today due to prior engagements,' said V N Singh, a farmer leader from Uttar Pradesh, addressing the people who had gathered at Jantar Mantar.

In the evening, the crowd grew in numbers but did not reach the 2011 level. The character of the crowd is also different this time. While the Delhi middle class was not too visible, a lot of farmers turned up for the fast. Team Anna hoped that the crowd at the venue will increase in coming days. Its member Kiran Bedi was disappointed at the low turnout of women supporters. 'It is regretting to see that the audience is predominantly male. It is said that we vote for a saree or a bottle of alcohol. We are being fooled. More than 50 per cent of those who vote are women. Why are they not seen here?' she asked.

Towards the end of the day, Arvind Kejriwal, who left the venue earlier in the day for Bulandshahr for a court hearing, and Manish Sisodiya showed signs of tiredness due to low blood sugar, according to their medical reports.

Addressing the protesters, Hazare again gave call for a jail-bharo agitation if government did not concede to his demands for bringing in a strong Lokpal Bill. Later, the lawyer Prashant Bhushan spoke about the corruption charges against five union ministers – Sharad Pawar, Kamal Nath, Vilasrao Deshmukh, S M Krishna and Salman Khurshid. On Wednesday, Team Anna had talked about President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the union ministers P Chidambarm, Kapil Sibal and Virbhadra Singh in a similar vein.

Bhushan also responded to Khurshid's jibe that the team should approach the United Nations if they did not subscribe to the Supreme Court rejecting charges against union ministers. 'His claim that the Supreme Court has cleared ministers is false. The apex court has not cleared them of a single charge. It is not that the allegations levelled do not warrant an independent probe,' he said.
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