Secret of fast? Hear it from a Pune doctor

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 17.08.11
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New Delhi, Aug. 16: A cardiologist in Pune has claimed that his first encounter with Anna Hazare more than a decade ago had left him “shocked” because he was informed that the activist was given glucose and electrolyte solutions during a fast.

The physician, Abhijit Vaidya, who is also the founder of Arogya Sena, a non-government agency involved in public health, disaster management and social campaigns, has said he had been requested to examine Hazare on the 13th day of his fast in hometown Ralegan-Siddhi.

“I did not see Anna Hazare consume anything but one of his close associates showed me a packet of glucose and electrolyte powder and asked me whether the daily amounts he was giving Hazare was sufficient,” Vaidya told The Telegraph.

“I was shocked — I was familiar with the Gandhian ways of fasting and this claim by the associate that glucose and electrolyte solution were being given daily was a shock for me,” said Vaidya, whose father and two maternal uncles were freedom fighters.

Hazare and his associates were not available for comment today.

Vaidya said he “strongly condemned” Hazare’s arrest by the government. “This arrest was totally undemocratic,” he said. “But Hazare should respect our parliamentary democracy — let the elected representatives of the people decide on the (Lokpal) bill.”

“I fear Hazare is being used as a tool to destabilise the government,” he said. “Corruption obviously needs to be fought but Hazare has never addressed other social issues such as economic inequality, extreme poverty and farmers’ suicides that are equally hurting the country.”

Vaidya said he believes any attempt to portray Hazare as another Mahatma Gandhi is misplaced. “After the Chauri Chaura incident, Mahatma Gandhi had called off his campaign. Does Hazare have the courage to ask the hundreds of people who are flocking around his movement whether they have never or will never again engage in acts of corruption? Any form of illegal personal gains — from tax evasion through cash sales or houses to bribing clerks in public offices — could be deemed as corruption.”