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Low turnout at Ramlila ground for Team Anna

Khakis, cameras and microphones dominated the agitation scene at Ramlila ground here today where Team Anna began a relay fast to express solidarity with Anna Hazare as crowds kept away due to winter chill.

As the day progressed, people came in for the protest but it was not as overwhelming as one expected. Supporters defended the low turnout saying winter chill and absence of Hazare were to be blamed for it.

With the Delhi leg of Team Anna's fast eliciting a lukewarm response, mediapersons who thronged the venue this morning were left disappointed with little to report on.

"I have been here from 9.30 AM this morning expecting to see a huge gathering...but this is disappointing, we have practically nothing to report on," a TV journalist said. "Mumbai and Parliament are the cynosure of all attention now, a protest here in between was not needed really," he added.

Most scribes were also unhappy with the 90-minute delay in starting the relay fast, led by senior lawyer Shanti Bhushan. The tight security put in place for the fast also seemed inordinate with police personnel having little to do due to the low turnout.

"Although few people have turned up, we have been asked to maintain vigil on all three days to avoid any untoward incident," said Rakesh Nanda, a constable on duty. Fewer "I'm with Anna" caps bobbed among the gathering of media persons and security personnel, with supporters blaming the winter chill and absence of Anna Hazare for the low turnout at Ramlila Maidan. Even the speeches delivered by activists did not elicit much strong response from the gathered few.

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