Ramdev determined to fast; PM, Sonia mull ways
to dissuade him
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev is determined to go ahead with his proposed
hunger strike for purging corruption from society, even as Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi met here
to find ways to dissuade the saffron-clad sanyasi,
For many the issue of black money stashed abroad was secondary as
they thronged the Ramlila ground on a hot and humid Friday. From
various corners of India, the crowds were there more for the man -
yoga guru Baba Ramdev - than his mission.
Shouting slogans and singing bhajans, thousands of supporters
started congregating at the sprawling ground that will be ground
zero for Ramdev's indefinite fast against corruption and black
money from Saturday.
With colourful flags, banners, posters and paintings of Ramdev
adorning every nook and cranny, many sat in front of a big dais,
singing devotional songs. People continued to pour in every hour
at the venue where the guru had addressed a gathering in the
"I have been here since morning and the crowd is just swelling
every hour. I had around a thousand registration forms with me in
the morning and only a handful are left," said Surendra Rana, the
person in charge at one of the registration tables.
A walk around the ground reaffirmed Rana's claim of summoning huge
numbers to his cause.
The supporters seemed to be digging in their heels as many had
brought along huge suitcases with enough clothes to last for a
couple of weeks at least.
"We have just arrived from Madhya Pradesh and would be staying
here till Baba needs us, even if it means months. We support Baba
and the cause and want a clean country," said Bhoop Singh, eating
food with his wife.
Having travelled for days from many parts of the country, the
journey was tiring for many. Adding to it was the unbearable Delhi
heat, which made many rush to the makeshift bathrooms at one end
of the ground for a quick shower as soon as they reached the
"The summers are hot back home too but not as dry as Delhi. It is
the noble cause that I am supporting which is egging me to fight,"
said K. Ramanan from Andhra Pradesh.
Hundreds of fans, desert coolers, filtered drinking water and even
a couple of ambulances are available 24x7 for the supporters, said
It is loyalty towards Ramdev and not what he is fighting against
that seems to be attracting supporters. For many, the issue of
black money and corruption were secondary.
"We are staunch devotees of Baba Ramdev and will support him in
whatever he does. For us he is no less than god, he is a gyaani
(wise man) and only he can cure this country," said Naresh Besoya,
who had come from the yoga guru's home state Haryana with seven
Agreed Senthil Menon from Kerala who confessed he was an alcoholic
till a few years back. It was Ramdev's "healing" yoga that helped
him to get rid of the addiction.
"I was cured in just six months," Menon said, adding it was
important to support a 'saint' working for such a cause.
Asked about the cause itself, he replied: "That's important too."