It’s Baba Ramdev’s show at Jantar Mantar

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Yoga guru Ramdev basked in the limelight during Sunday’s joint agitation with Anna Hazare at Jantar Mantar in the national capital, with the venue brimming with a large number of supporters and volunteers from his Yogpeeth.

Braving the hot and sweltering weather, thousands gathered at the venue of the day-long fast where large posters of Ramdev had been put up and crucial aspects of previous agitations by Hazare and his team members were missing.

The Gandhi cap was nowhere to be seen and there were no recitals of bhajans, something that was a significant part of all previous sit-in protests by Hazare and his team.

While people from the middle and urban classes had formed a large chunk of Hazare’s supporters on earlier occasions, those who had gathered at the protest site on Sunday were mostly from the economically weaker sections, many of them from neighbouring Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Volunteers from Team Anna’s India Against Corruption, who were earlier instrumental in organising Hazare’s agitations, were largely absent.

Unlike during the agitations by Team Anna, women and youth were present in very small numbers. This time there were no families who had brought along their children to tell them about the fight against corruption.

Sunday’s protest was dominated by the presence of middle-aged and older men. A small number of young men could be seen waving the tricolour and holding placards with anticorruption slogans.

The event marked the anniversary of Ramdev’s agitation last year when he was arrested on the intervening night of June 3 and 4 amidst a lathicharge at Ramlila Maidan. Pictures of Rajbala, the 51-year-old woman who died after being injured in the lathi charge on Ramdev’s supporters by the police, were also on display.

A man dressed as ‘Raavana’ was also present at the venue. “I am dressed like the villain of Ramayana to depict the evil nature of corruption,” he said.

There was large presence of police personnel. Business was brisk for ice-cream vendors as a large number of people from the venue flocked their carts for some cool treats to beat the heat.

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