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United show of strength

Pratima Singh Kharra (38), mother of three from Rajasthan’s Sri Madhopur, and Neelam Rainam, a software programmer from Sunder Nagar, have little in common. Avishek G Dastidar reports.

delhi Updated: Jun 08, 2011 23:41 IST
Avishek G Dastidar

Pratima Singh Kharra (38), mother of three from Rajasthan’s Sri Madhopur, and Neelam Rainam, a software programmer from Sunder Nagar, have little in common.

Kharra follows Ramdev’s asanas religiously and has never used Facebook or Twitter in her life.

Rainam, on the other hand, has been spreading the word about her engagements with Anna Hazare’s India Against Corruption (ICA) through her online social networking accounts.

Diverse as they may be, they were both at Rajghat on Wednesday, united in their belief that corruption was corroding the country and that their presence counted.

“I have always followed Ramdev’s ideas about the need to fight corruption,” said Kharra, who was accompanied by her husband and children.

“On Saturday night, I was there at Ramlila ground and saw what we are up against. The police beat up women and children and drove everyone away. We have to support someone like Hazareji against such a system, because cowering won’t help.”

Like the Kharra family, a large number of people descended at Hazare’s protest site, wearing badges of Ramdev’s Ramlila ground yoga camp.

Mostly, they were not the ones who had joined Hazare at Jantar Mantar in April, farmers and housewives and the middle class segment that comprise the followers of Ramdev.

“There is a marked difference between the kind of support bases Hazareji and Ramdevji have. But the fight is the same, so there is no difference in people’s minds,” Rainam said.

Housewives from Bahadurgarh, members of Ramdev’s Bharat Swabhiman, arrived in the afternoon. So did card-holding members of Patanjali Yogpeeth, like Vinay Samadhiya from East Delhi who sells computers in RK Puram.

“Annaji and Ramdevji are like Gandhiji and Netaji. They are both fighting the same fight but differently,” he said while filling up registration form for the ICA, Hazare’s picture pasted neatly beside his Patanjali I-card.

Even in his absence, Ramdev remained the talking point. “If the police had not disrupted the yoga camp, I would have gone there on Sunday,” said Bhavesh, the lead singer of a Sufi rock group called Bebaq. “I have been updating my Facebook and Twitter accounts on the fight against corruption.”

The seemingly divergent camps against corruption stood united for a day.