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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

A low-key end to Ramdev’s hyped anti-graft campaign

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times  Dehradun / Rishikesh / Haridwar, June 12, 2011
First Published: 11:23 IST(12/6/2011) | Last Updated: 23:55 IST(12/6/2011)

When Baba Ramdev drank fruit juice at the prodding of spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to break his nine-day old fast against corruption, it brought a low-key end to a campaign that had begun with much fanfare at Delhi's Ramlila grounds.

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Ramdev had claimed he would end the fast only if the government issues an ordinance to curb black money, but succumbed to pressure from political and religious leaders early on Sunday.

Sri Sri, founder of the Art of Living Foundation, was among those who played a key role in persuading the Haridwar-based yoga guru to give up his fast.

"If he is adamant, I am also adamant that I will stay here as long as it takes for him to give up his fast," Sri Sri had said on Saturday after meeting Ramdev at Dehradun's Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, where he was admitted on Friday after being on fast since June 4.

On Sunday morning, Sri Sri, along with some religious and spiritual leaders, convinced the yoga guru to break his fast.

Ramdev's decision, however, evoked mixed feelings among the saints in the twin temple towns of Rishikesh and Hardiwar.

“Ramdev humiliated the status of the spiritual masters,” Mahant Vinay Saraswat of the Vedasthanam Peethadheswar said. However, Rameshwar Das, head of the Virat Vaisnav Mandal, felt Ramdev was crucial to the movement against corruption.

At the hospital compound, which was the centre of attraction for the past three days, Ramdev's supporters chanted slogans his praise. Some felt Ramdev was left with no option as it was becoming clear that the Congress would not relent.

Soon after, the numbers started to dwindle and the dozens of television outside broadcast (OB) vans and media personnel parked in the hospital premises for days were all gone.


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