When anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare rose to address hundreds of people on Parliament Street around 4.30pm, the enthusiasm of the gathering by way of cheers and claps belied the sultry summer heat on Sunday.
“Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, “Inquilab Zindabad”, Hazare said in his characteristic style, which immediately drew loud responses from the gathering. Hazare and Ramdev were sharing the stage — along with almost 50 others — on Sunday as part of the agitation led by Ramdev’s Bharat Swabhiman Andolan.
Instead of tricolours and Anna caps prominent earlier, Sunday saw Ramdev’s supporters, mostly from Haryana, dominating the scene.
Police estimated a gathering of nearly 4,500 people in the first half while the numbers went down by 2pm as the heat prompted many to leave the venue. The gathering grew again towards the end when the weather turned pleasant.
A large pandal occupied the Parliament Street, a little ahead of Patel Chowk roundabout, till the Jantar Mantar traffic signal. Large screens at intervals enabled people to see what was happening on the stage.
Water was distributed freely in view of the scorching heat. At least three persons took ill due to dehydration. One of them was sent to RML hospital. Earlier, after visiting the Azad Hind Gram, Ramdev and Team Anna visited Rajghat. At the venue of the agitation, the yoga guru started off with an elaborate speech espousing the cause of bringing back black money and fighting corruption.
After Arvind Kejriwal spoke on corruption and the coal-gate scam, Chaudhary Satyadheer Lohan, who had come from Alewa in Haryana and claimed to have been with Ramdev since the first day of the agitation, said, “Naa Nyay Hai Naa Sachchai (There is no justice, no truth). All we want is there should be an independent inquiry.”
Echoed Sunil Kumar, a fire officer, “Yes, let there be an independent inquiry against the prime minister, Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal. It will prove who is what.”
Indirectly referring to the police attack on his supporters in June last year, Ramdev said, “Hamla chaahe jaisa hoga, haath hamara nahi uthega (Howsoever they attack us, we will not raise our hand).”
Ramdev also announced the launch of the next round of agitation from August 9.Reiterating his seven-point demand charter, he said people will come with "Samarthan Patra" (letter of support) from 6,32,365 gram panchayats and more than 2,32,000 gram sabhas from all across India."