New Delhi: Threatening a fight to finish by August, Anna Hazare and yoga guru Ramdev today began their day-long fast, their first joint appearance on a public platform in the past one year, against the UPA on corruption.
The one-day fast demanding bringing back black money stashed abroad and against the corruption and corrupt system is also likely to have its echo in the state capitals as well with Ramdev's Bharat Swabhiman Andolan organising protests.
Before launching their fast, Ramdev said that there will be a fight to finish in August as he is launching a protest programme then.
‘From today, we are intensifying our protest to bring back black money stashed abroad and want all of the countrymen to be part of the fight to finish by August,’ he said.
‘We will hit the streets not in lakhs but in crores in the coming days demanding that black money be declared a national treasure and measures be taken to bring it back,’ he told reporters as he headed to Rajghat from Tikri Kalan on Delhi border after paying tributes to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at Azad Hind Gram.
Hazare said during today's protest, ‘we will talk about the course of action and nature of campaigning in the future.’
Ramdev and Hazare separately reached the dharna hotspot Jantar Mantar around 10.10 am after visiting the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat this morning.
While Ramdev was accompanied by his aide Balakrishna, Hazare was seen with former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia - prominent members of Team Anna. Ahead of their joint fast, Hazare and Ramdev visited the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat. Ramdev reached the samadhi along with a number of supporters after taking out a march from the Delhi borders while Hazare went there from Maharashtra Sadan where he was staying.
Before beginning their journey to Rajghat, Ramdev and his close aide Acharya Balkrishna went to Azad Hind Gram on Ttikrikalan on Delhi border and paid tributes to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. After Rajghat, Ramdev also went to nearby Shahid Park.
The protest at Jantar Mantar is likely to see Hazare and Ramdev announcing his strategy with regard to the 2014 General Elections.
This is the first time that Ramdev and Hazare are sitting on a joint fast. From Team Anna, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Manish Sisodia will join Hazare and Ramdev in the day-long fast.
This is also their first joint appearance on a public platform in the past one year after the team distanced themselves from the yoga guru due to his Hindutva links.
During the March 25 protest, Hazare announced that his movement and that of Ramdev will support each other in the fight against corruption.
The association with Ramdev had also created ripples in Team Anna with a section remaining opposed to have any truck with the yoga guru as he is facing corruption charges.
Ahead of the fast, both Hazare and Ramdev have stepped up their attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Hazare had said that Singh has lost faith in government while Ramdev alleged that the Prime Minister was not ‘politically honest.’
A senior police official said they have made elaborate arrangements. Besides Delhi Police personnel, 20 companies of para military forces are deployed in the area.