New Delhi: Plans of social activist Anna Hazare to spread awareness about the office of Lokpal among the masses has received a setback. Anna would not be able to be physically present at some of these awareness programmes and marches, to be held in Uttar Pradesh in coming days, as he has developed knee problem.

The 72-year-old Gandhian, whose four-day fast brought the Central government on its knees over the Lokpal Bill would now address such programmes through video-conferencing and phone as doctors attending on him have advised rest.

“Anna has been advised by Dr Sancheti, who treated him in Pune, not to walk for a week,” said Arvind Kejriwal, one of the civil society representatives on the Lokpal panel.

Anna was to address rallies in Varanasi and Sultanpur on April 29, 30 respectively and a mammoth public rally in Lucknow on May 1.

Following his illness, it has been decided that his fellow activists would remain present at these rallies and the veteran activist would address people through phone and video-conferencing.

When asked if the decision was taken to insulate Anna from the political developments in Uttar Pradesh, Kejriwal said: “Anna would never backtrack because of such controversies. He has already said he would visit these places once he recovers.”

Kejriwal further said that Anna is in constant touch with his co-activists. He also addressed a meeting of activists in Delhi on Wednesday through video conferencing, he added.

A day before the next meeting of the joint draft committee on Lokpal Bill, Anna Hazare and his fellow activists have organised marches in several cities across the nation in support of the Jan Lokpal bill on May 1.

Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi would lead one of such marches in Mumbai,

JPN/Bureau