Actvists of the Bharat Swabhiman Trust (BST) were left confused yesterday at the Club House in Sindh Colony on Baner Road because social worker Anna Hazare and yoga guru Baba Ramdev did not turn up to address the media for over an hour beyond the scheduled time.
The activists were expecting the two anti-corruption crusaders to address the media together, but after 60 minutes of waiting it was decided that only Baba Ramdev would brief the media. Only one wooden chair was kept near the microphones instead of two, in keeping with the change in programme.
Finally, the confusion was resolved and another wooden chair was brought in, signalling the original plan would stand. There were many explanations given when none of the two leaders had turned up at the Club House for long. After the two had not arrived even after an hour and pressure began mounting on the BST activists to get the media briefing started, senior BST leader Kuldeep Sahani said the delay could be because both Baba Ramdev and Hazare had other programmes elsewhere.
“Both Baba and Anna have their own programmes in the city and if their respective commitments are clashing, then only Baba will come and address the media,” Sahani said. Another explanation was given by Pritesh Lad, who said Hazare had arrived late and was having food. The BST leaders finally heaved a sigh of relief when both Baba Ramdev and Hazare arrived in the same vehicle from the nearby Sant Niwas.
Later, at the Ankush Landage Auditorium in Bhosari, Hazare spoke first and left early for Ralegansiddhi. An employee at Hazare’s office speaking from Ralegansiddhi also said the crusader was expected back that very day. “We are expecting Anna by today evening,” Vyankatesh, the employee, said. On his part, Baba Ramdev praised Hazare.
The yoga guru, who is fighting against black money and supporting Hazare’s campaign for the passage of the Jan Lokpal bill, called the Ralegansiddhi activist a leading light and father figure for all for the agitations scheduled on July 25 and August 9 in Delhi. He also clarified that the agitations were not being conducted by only one organisation but that several many social organisations were involved in both the stirs.
“We are creating an atmosphere of major social change in society by involving many organisations in the agitations,” he said. Hazare said he and Baba Ramdev were together for both agitations. “I and respected Baba Ramdev are joining hands in both the agitations,” he said. “The fight will continue till it reaches its logical conclusion by involving people of this country.” All doubts clarified, the yoga guru and the social worker held each other’s hands and raised them in the air as a sign of unity.
General election before 2014, say crusaders in one voice
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev and noted social worker Anna Hazare, who are both fighting corruption in the corridors of power, said the people of the country would topple the UPA government at the Centre as it was not doing anything to bring back black money parked outside the country and also not passing the Jan Lokpal bill to curb corruption.
The two said that the agitation planned in Delhi on August 9, which is also Kranti Din, would automatically create an atmosphere for major social and political change, leading to early elections. Hazare described the August 9 agitation as a “full and final” effort to make the government listen to their demands.
“We are not going to listen to even the Prime Minister on these two issues (black money and jan Lokpal) and are ready to sacrifice our lives for the country. The agitation will continue till the Lokpal bill is passed. Lokpal aake rahega, nahi toh hamara balidan hoga (There will be either Lokpal bill or we shall sacrifice our lives),” he said.
Spotted: Virat Kohli, Anushka Sharma and other celebs at Mumbai airport
Photos: Salman Khan's 'special friend' Iulia Vantur at a song launch
Photos: Hrithik Roshan, Anushka Sharma, other celebs dazzle at event
In Pictures: Sex scandals involving Indian politicians
Photos: Abhishek Bachchan and Farah Khan at Boman Irani's birthday bash