Queuing up to get themselves registered for Ramdev's programme
All eyes were on Jantar Mantar when Anna Hazare brought the war against corruption to the capital. Now, the focus is on the Ramlila Grounds as Baba Ramdev takes his turn to fight the canker.
A day before the launch of Baba Ramdev's ‘satyagrah' on the issue of corruption and black money, Ramlila Maidan here was abuzz with hundreds of participants who have arrived here from different parts of the country to take part in the fast and pledge their support for the cause.
Unfazed by the heat and long train journeys, people were seen queuing up to get themselves registered. Those who had already registered settled on mattresses provided by the organisers at the tented camp. Separate places have been earmarked for men and women staying in the camp and water, electricity and toilet and bathing facilities have also been provided.
With the stage show of Baba Ramdev's supporters kicking off with speeches, performances and sloganeering, there was palpable excitement and energy in the air at the camp. Songs and slogans on themes of corruption and patriotism were being lapped up by the enthusiastic supporters.
Painter Alam, who travelled all the way from Gaya in Bihar to extend support to the ‘satyagrah,' proudly displayed his painting near the media enclosure portraying the theme of corruption. He spoke about his passion for the cause even as he added finishing strokes to his canvas.
“I had also come for Anna Hazare's anti-corruption campaign at Jantar Mantar. I have come again as corruption is a cause I feel strongly about. I will try to reflect the same through my art and generate awareness about it,” he added.
According to unofficial figures provided by volunteers at the registration desk, a total of 1,800 people have registered themselves for the fast till now and more are expected to join from Saturday onwards.
One such supporter Agnivesh said: “I have come from Kanpur to participate in the hunger strike. I have decided to stay only on lime water and join Baba Ramdev in his fast till the Central government relents and recovers the crores stashed away in Swiss banks.”
For 59-year-old Shakti Chopra and 70-year-old Pratibha Khosla, who travelled from Ferozepur in Punjab to the Ramlila Maidan to participate in the campaign, it was the cause of corruption that they identified with.
Ms. Khosla said: “While essential items like petrol, vegetables and cooking gas are getting more and more expensive by the day, it's the poor and the middle class which is suffering the most. While the poor are getting poorer, our corrupt politicians are becoming richer and richer by stashing away crores of black money abroad. We have come here to pledge our support for the cause so that we can leave behind something good for our next generation.”