RAHUL VAISHNAVI New Delhi For many, the issue of black money stashed abroad was secondary as they thronged the Ramlila ground on a hot and humid Friday. From various corners of India, the crowds were there more for the man – Yoga guru Baba Ramde

v – than his mission.

Shouting slogans and singing bhajans, thousands of supporters started congregating at the sprawling ground that will be ground zero for Ramdevalt39s indefinite fast against corruption and black money from Saturday.

With colourful flags, banners, posters and paintings of Ramdev adorning every nook and cranny, many sat in front of a big dais, singing devotional songs.

People continued to pour in every hour at the venue where the guru had addressed a gathering in the morning.

” I have been here since morning and the crowd is just swelling every hour. I had around a thousand registration forms with me in the morning and only a handful are left,” said Surendra Rana, the person in charge at one of the registration tables.

A walk around the ground reaffirmed Ranaalt39s claim of summoning huge numbers to his cause.

The supporters seemed to be digging in their heels as many had brought along huge suitcases with enough clothes to last for a couple of weeks at least.

” We have just arrived from Madhya Pradesh and would be staying here till Baba needs us, even if it means months.

We support Baba and the cause and want a clean country,” said Bhoop Singh, eating food with his wife.

Having travelled for days from many parts of the country, the journey was tiring for many. Adding to it was the unbearable Delhi heat, which made many rush to the makeshift bathrooms at one end of the ground for a quick shower as soon as they reached the venue.

” The summers are hot back home too but not as dry as Delhi. It is the noble cause that I am supporting which is egging me to fight,” said K Ramanan from Andhra Pradesh.

Hundreds of fans, desert coolers, filtered drinking water and even a couple of ambulances are available 24×7 for the supporters, said a volunteer.

It is loyalty towards Ramdev and not what he is fighting against that seems to be attracting supporters.

For many, the issue of black money and corruption were secondary.

” We are staunch devotees of Baba Ramdev and will support him in whatever he does. For us he is no less than God, he is a gyaani ( wise man) and only he can cure this country,” said Naresh Besoya, who had come from the Yoga gurualt39s home state Haryana with seven family members.

Agreed Senthil Menon from Kerala who confessed he was an alcoholic till a few years back. It was Ramdevalt39s ” healing” yoga that helped him to get rid of the addiction.

” I was cured in just six months,” Menon said, adding it was important to support a alt39 saintalt39 working for such a cause.

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