Indian anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare has launched his public hunger strike after being released from jail in New Delhi.
Earlier he had refused to leave prison before police agreed to allow him to fast for 15 days.
There was a deafening roar from Hazare’s supporters as he emerged from the capital’s Tihar jail. But despite the rapturous welcome for the man who has evoked memories of India’s independence leader Gandhi, the crowd was smaller than some had expected.
The 74-year-old told them that although the British had left, corruption and mismanagement remained.
His campaign has inspired millions among India’s new middle class, who are fed up with having to pay constant bribes to officials.
Among several scandals, it is thought that one involving the telecoms industry may have cost the government the equivalent of 27 billion euros.
Its anti-corruption bill has been criticised as being too weak. The protests are an embarrassment for the ruling Congress Party whose reform programme has suffered a series of setbacks.