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Aug 09, 2012 at 03:49pm IST

Baba Ramdev says movement is aimed only at black money

New Delhi:1:00 pm Yoga guru Baba Ramdev said that his movement was only aimed at bringing back the black money allegedly stashed abroad and had no political agenda.

12:10 pm: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev clarified that he was not on an indefinite fast, but a three-day symbolic fast at the Ramlila Maidan. "No indefinite anshan, only a symbolic fast for three days," Ramdev said.

11:40 am: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev said that Anna Hazare was still supporting him and that the fight for the Lokpal bill wasn't yet over. Speaking at the Ramlila Maidan, Ramdev said, "The government will be forced to bring Lokpal."

Ramdev also said that he had no political agenda, but only wanted the government to bring back the black money stashed abroad.

"My doors are open to all political parties. My doors are also open to Sonia Gandhi. I am not here to dislodge anyone from power," Ramdev said.

11:17 am: Thousands of fervent Ramdev supporters have gathered at the Ramlila Maidan for the yoga guru's indefinite fast against black money. The supporters, who have come from all over the country vouched for Ramdev, saying, "Ramdev is god for us."

10:20 am: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev began his indefinite fast against black money at the Ramlila Maidan as supporters from all over the country gathered at the venue.

9:45 am: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev has reached Ramlila Maidan and is set to address the crowd at the venue.

9:20 am: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev reached Rajghat to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi before heading to Ramlila Maidan for his agitation.

8:20 am: Huge crowds gathered at the Ramlila Maidan in the capital on Thursday morning as yoga guru Baba Ramdev is set to return to renew his agitation against black money. Approximately 6,000 to 7,000 people were present at the venue early on Thursday morning.

Ramdev is expected to reach the venue around 10 am after visiting the Shaheedi Park and Rajghat. After reaching the venue, Ramdev will announce whether his protest will be an indefinite fast or just an agitation.

"It is the responsibility of the common man and not just the government to protect the country. This andolan will be decisive. I will pay tribute to Bapu and then go to Ramlila Maidan, Ramdev said.

Yoga guru Ramdev will be back at the Ramlila Maidan on Thursday to renew his fight against black money, 14 months since his first protest at the venue ended in a midnight crackdown by the police. It remains to be seen whether the movement can be successful even as anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare has refused to share his platform.

The last time that Ramdev attempted a protest against black money, he had to run away in the middle of the night and his supporters were lathicharged.

Now Ramdev is back, his demands are the same, the stage is the same as well - the Ramlila Maidan in the capital.

Just last week, another high profile agitation, Anna Hazare's fast came to a sudden end as the government refused to play ball. Anna ended up disbanding his entire team and though Ramdev did extend an invitation to Anna to attend his fast, Anna isn't in any mood to oblige.

Anna's key aide Kiran Bedi, though, has taken a different position. She tweeted, "Baba's cause like Anna's India Against Corruption movement for Jan Lokpal Bill is for all of us, and for the benefit of the country. We must support it, else we will lose out."

Even if Anna's team doesn't come, Ramdev's devout followers are expected to come in large numbers despite questions on Ramdev's own credibility. CNN-IBN had shown how income tax authorities were accusing him of hiding his wealth. His key aide Balakrishnan is already behind bars in a fake passport scam.

It's such issues which had led to this outburst from Congress leader Digvijaya Singh last year, who said, "Ramdev is a thug."

Of late, Ramdev's growing proximity to several BJP leaders has given a strong political overtone to his entire movement. How the government deals with him this time, will be reflective of whether he is treated like Anna or not.

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