Ramdev bats for Modi at Maidan

Will go with political party endorsed by ‘swamiji’, say his followers 

Eighty-year-old S P Singh from Shahdara in east Delhi came to Ramlila Maidan on Sunday to see Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi practise yoga with ‘yog guru’ Baba Ramdev on the same dais. 

“Though Modi didn’t perform yoga with swamiji, it was just worth coming to hear the leader speak. Hear this old man, the whole of Shahdara will vote for him in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls,” a beaming Singh said.

Singh was among many of the enthusiastic elderly citizens who attended the Yog Mahotsav organised by Patanjali Yogpeeth and Bharat Swabhiman Trust on the occasion of Martyrs’ Day. 

Amrit, 75, was among the few who was seen sitting while the rest of the crowd was seen vigorously performing yoga on Ramdev’s instructions. “Look at my husband there changing positions in a blink. He is 78. But his body is almost as flexible as Ramdev’s,” the Patel Nagar resident chuckled, pointing towards her husband. 

Taking a break in between asanas, Amrit’s 52-year-old neighbour Koshila Devi joined her. “I am a loyal follower of Baba Ramdev. I had stayed for four days at Ramlila Maidan during the last yoga session here,” Devi said.

While the loudspeakers boomed with Ramdev’s voice, “without investment, yoga is life insurance”, a volunteer from Patanjali Yogpeeth said, “It is the Modi factor which has drawn a huge crowd to the ground.”

Sushma Soni, an ardent supporter of Ramdev from Gurgaon, said, “Our political affiliations will be the same as swamiji’s. Only Modi can bring change now as swamiji says.”

Supporters of Ramdev and Modi erupted in applause, waving the Indian flag as the former said in his speech, “The nation’s good days lie ahead. Help me bring a good leader. Help me get rid of the corrupt.”

As Modi rose to speak, the ‘Modi slogans’ grew louder and people flashed victory signs in the air. Praising Ramdev for starting the ‘yog movement’, Modi said yoga can attract anyone and unite people across countries. 

“It is a matter of pride that the yoga andolan started in Surat and I had the privilege of witnessing the movement. Yoga is not only about rog mukti but also mukti,” he added.The BJP leader said Ramdev has “a fire within himself” to address issues of black money, corruption and bad governance in the country. 

“His (Ramdev’s) issues are such which are liked by people like me. But there are many people whose sleep vanishes when he rakes up certain issues. So they get behind him," he said, making an indirect reference to the Congress government.

There was a crackdown on Ramdev and his supporters on the same ground on the night of June 4, 2011 by Delhi Police when the former were protesting against corruption. According to police, the “yoga guru” and his supporters had turned violent which had necessitated the intervention.

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