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Crowds dwindle at Baba’s fast

From around 40,000 on day one, the numbers went down to 12,000 on Friday; hopes rest on weekend .

delhi Updated: Aug 11, 2012 00:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

He came to conquer but couldn't sustain his followers, who deserted Ramdev's indefinite protest against corruption and black money at Ramlila Maidan on Friday.

Ramdev, who was expecting the crowd to swell at the protest venue, couldn't manage to gather local crowd as the number of people reduced to 12,000 on the second day of the fast from Thursday's 40,000.

On a high after getting a thumping response from the crowd on Thursday, the first of Ramdev's indefinite protest, the organizers were left disappointed. They were expecting the number to touch 50,000. It seems even Ramdev's documents and numbers against the government couldn't fuel in support. Baffled organizers blamed it on a humid day and "media bias".

"There's too much humidity that's why it is becoming difficult for people to sit here. There's also a certain media bias against Ramdev but we still have over 20,000 people at the venue," said an organizer, who did not wish to be named. However, the police claimed the number to be around 12,000.

"Around 10,000 to 12,000 people came to the venue on Friday. We were expecting the number to be around 50,000 since it was a holiday. There are hardly any local people here. All of his supporters have been brought from Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttara-khand, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh," said a senior police officer.

The organisers of the protest had made adequate food arrangements for Ramdev followers to keep the enthusiasm going. Focusing on increasing mass support, Ramdev yet again urged the people to join his movement and asked them to celebrate Janmashtami with him at Ramlila Maidan. But his wish wasn't granted.

As a consolation of sorts, Ramdev told the gathering, "We will see some big faces on this platform very soon."

Ramdev started the day with yoga at 6 am and later in the day he spoke on many issues including farmer's suicide, land acquisition bill, black money and Naxalism.

"Our agenda is to save the country. Now it's time for the political parties to take a stand. Till they don't, we will not leave from here," the yoga guru added.

Ramdev also revealed his anti-English agenda by asking his followers from southern India to learn Hindi and "not promote English".

First Published: Aug 11, 2012 00:03 IST