Delhi woke up to a Monday without any electricity. Metro trains weren't running, so commuters hit the roads, where traffic lights weren't working because of a massive power outage across North India. At 9 am, attendance was sparse at activist Anna Hazare's protest camp in the capital.
But perhaps because it was overcast and cool in Delhi as 75-year-old Anna entered the second day of his hunger strike, or because the Left had called a demonstration against rising food prices at the same location, a few hours later it was house-full at Anna's venue, Jantar Mantar. The crowd didn't diminish through the day, holding steady at about 5,000 people.
Anna spoke firmly about the Lokpal Bill, the anti-corruption legislation that he says the government has no intent of delivering to a people tired of immense and sordid graft. "The way this wave of protest against corruption is building in the country, I get the feeling that this government will have to bring a strong Lokpal Bill or else it will have to go," he warned. The government said this time around, there will be no discussion with the activists. Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy dismissed the hunger strike as "a drama" and said there's no point in trying to negotiate with Team Anna. "The government has done what it could," he said, stressing that the Lokpal Bill had been introduced in the Lok Sabha.
Anna's closest aides continued to focus on the ministers and politicians they accuse of corruption or unworthiness. "People praise him for introducing development," said activist Arvind Kejriwal, now on day six of his hunger strike. He was referring to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. "Do you see him as the future of India?" he asked. Mr Modi appears to be the latest expression of the differences within Anna's core group. Against the advice of his closest aides, Anna agreed to share the stage twice this month with yoga icon Baba Ramdev, who is seen as strongly affiliated to the opposition BJP. On Friday, Baba Ramdev appeared at Anna's camp, bringing with him a few thousand followers who exited when he did, demonstrating that Anna may not have miscalculated the pros of a collaboration. But then Baba Ramdev went to Gujarat, and shared the stage with Mr Modi, offering generous praise of the chief minister and BJP leader.
In Delhi, some Team Anna members reacted with anger, calling Mr Modi "a murderer of humanity" - a reference to the allegations that the chief minister was complicit in the communal riots that ravaged Gujarat in 2002. This morning, another Anna aide Kiran Bedi denied that Baba Ramdev had embarrassed the anti-corruption activists. She said that just as Team Anna meets leaders of the Opposition, Baba Ramdev cannot be faulted for meeting BJP leaders or others.
Anna and his activists want the government to ensure that the anti-corruption Lokpal Bill is cleared by Parliament urgently. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in December, but was stalled in the Rajya Sabha. It creates a Lokpal - a new national ombudsman agency - empowered to investigate charges of corruption against government servants. Last year, a 16-day fast by Anna in Delhi forced the government to promise him that the Lokpal Bill would be debated in Parliament in its Winter Session.