Mumbai dabbawalas, Vidarbha farmers back Ramdev



Mumbai: Nearly 5,000 dabbawalas of Mumbai and thousands of farmers and farm widows of Vidarbha Friday extended their support to yoga guru Baba Ramdev's proposed fast against corruption and black money from Saturday.

"Around 5,000 dabbawalas (lunch-box carriers) have extended their moral support to Baba Ramdev," said Raghunath Medge, president of Nutan Dabbawala Trust.

Medge, however, lamented that the dabbawalas could not physically join the yoga guru for fast.

"If our dabbawalas also start fasting, around 2,00,000 Mumbaikars will have to go hungry. I wish we had a bigger workforce," he said.

Also extending support to Ramdev's fast against corruption are thousands of Vidarbha farmers and farm widows, 800 of whom will be physically present at the Ramlila Ground in New Delhi where Ramdev starts his fast Saturday.

"Around 500 farmers and 300 farm widows will be fasting alongside Baba Ramdev to express their support for his cause," said Kishor Tiwari, who is leading the farmers.

"Also, thousands of farmers and farm widows in 116 Vidarbha villages will sit on a relay fast everyday near the gram panchayat office of each village," he added.

Mumbai volunteers of India Against Corruption (IAC), that mobilised thousands to sit on a relay fast during Anna Hazare's fast against corruption, will join citizens at Mumbai's Azad Maidan Saturday in a solidarity fasting with Ramdev.

"Tens of thousands of stickers have been distributed to government and private offices and shops to sensitise citizens against the evil of corruption," an official from IAC said.

"National heroes like Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev have shown way for democratic agitation against an insensitive government and its select officials, and we will support them in their fight," he added.

Ramdev, who enjoys a huge following for offering cures for many lifestyle-related diseases through yoga, plans to begin his fast in New Delhi's sprawling Ramlila Ground to demand measures to curb corruption and bring back black money stashed in banks abroad.

Social activist Anna Hazare, who went on a fast in April to press for a strong anti-graft Lokpal bill, extended his support to Ramdev and also denied any rift with the yoga guru, but cautioned him against "government tactics".

IANS