New Delhi: Baba Ramdev launched his indefinite fast against corruption and blackmoney here Saturday morning after the government failed to persuade him to call off his protest.
The yoga guru began the protest along with thousands of his followers at the Ramlila maidan here as he was joined by Swami Sadhavi Ritambhara and other religious leaders from the Sikh, Jain and Muslim communities.
Before launching the fast, Ramdev held a yoga and `bhajan` session during which he told the gathering that the protest was intended to save the country from corruption and ensure that the poor get a good life.
"Nothing is impossible, everything is possible and we are not going to be defeated," the saffron-clad Baba seated on on an elevated platform, told the gathering, referring to bringing back of black money stashed in tax havens abroad.
Ramdev arrived at the stage at around 0450 hrs today to a huge round of applause from his followers.
Union ministers Kapil Sibal and Subodh Kant Sahay had held a marathon meeting yesterday with Ramdev to persuade him to not go ahead with his indefinite fast. However, the talks failed to reach any breakthrough with the yoga guru insisting that all his demands be met with completely.
Sadhvi Ridambhara, who also addressed the gathering, lavished praises on him saying "if there were more Vallabhai Patels, then there was no need for a sanyasi to sit on satyagraha."
Ramdev was at his humorous best while making his followers understand that the hunger strike will help them in two ways.
"Hamare mote bhai aur moti baheno ke liye yeh satyagraha health benefits laega aur desh ke liye wealth mil jayega. (While this hunger strike will bring health benefits to obese people, it will also help bring wealth to the
nation)," he said.
When a follower gave him a Rs 11-lakh cheque, the Baba joked, "Take the photos, this is not black money."
A large number of security personnel, including women from Rapid Action Force, were deployed at the protest site to ensure no untoward incident takes place. A manual frisking is also being carried out at the entrance.
The crowd cheered Ramdev whenever he spoke about bringing back black money, declaring it as a national asset and other issues of corruption. A number of RSS pracharaks in their uniforms were also seen at the site, keenly listening to the discourse.