Bangalore’s ‘India Against Corruption’ (IAC) rally on Sunday was not as much a crowd puller as it was expected to be. While the Saaku rally in December – organised by the same coalition of 18 organisations – had drawn a crowd of about 800, this rally had around 300 citizens from the city.
In addition to the coalition, the Art of Living Foundation also participated in organising the rally. The decision about the event was taken impromptu, to coincide with the Delhi rally, where the Jan Lokpal bill was planned to be formally released.
"All organisers got together for their first meeting on January 26. We had only four days to spread the word. This probably was the reason for lower participation. Even though we alerted about two lakh people through mails, there was not much time to co-ordinate the event as much as Saaku," says Srinivas Alavilli, member of Lok Satta, one of the organisers.
Karthik Raman, 27, Associate Researcher at IISc, who participated in the event, came to know about it through social media. "I had not participated in the Saaku campaign, IAC was my first public campaign. There was not much time to inform everyone. But it’s great that people came together; I think such campaigns are necessary."
The campaign saw varying degrees of success in other cities where it was held. "Delhi saw the biggest mass participation. Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, etc., had participation in the tune of thousands," says Srinivas.
At the conclusion of the march in Bangalore, several people gave passionate speeches and the central government’s version of the Lokpal Bill was burned. The protesters pointed out that the central government was trying to deceive the public into believing that corruption was being curbed by passing their own version of the Lokpal Bill and not the citizen’s version.⊕