Social activist Anna Hazare and yoga guru Baba Ramdev will sit on a fast in the national capital today demanding stronger action against corruption, the return of black money stashed away by Indians abroad as well as a stronger Lokpal Bill. The protest marks a year of the police crackdown on Baba Ramdev and his supporters in the capital's Ramlila Maidan while they were protesting against black money. The police action had led to the death of a woman.
Today's protest, which is expected to end at around 6 pm, is likely to see Baba Ramdev announcing his strategy in the 2014 general elections.
Baba Ramdev started his journey from the Azad Hind Gram, Teekari village near Mundka early this morning and then went to Rajghat, where Mr Hazare is expected to join him. The duo will then go to Shaheed Park to pay their tribute before proceeding towards the Parliament Street where they will host the fast outside a police station.
"We will discuss how to take forward the movement against corruption today," Mr Hazare said at Maharashtra Sadan as left for Rajghat.
The police have permitted a gathering of 5000 people. A senior police official said they have made elaborate arrangements. Besides Delhi Police personnel, 20 companies of paramilitary forces will be deployed in the area.
Baba Ramdev's Bharat Swabhiman Andolan will also organise protests in various state capitals today.
Team Anna members Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai are expected to join Mr Hazare and Baba Ramdev in the fast. The association with Baba Ramdev had in the past created ripples in Team Anna with a section remaining opposed to have any truck with the yoga guru as he is facing corruption charges.
Ahead of the fast, both Mr Hazare and Baba Ramdev have stepped up their attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Mr Hazare had said that Dr Singh has lost faith in government while Ramdev alleged that the Prime Minister was not "politically honest".
Today's fast comes in the wake of fresh corruption allegations made by Team Anna against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and 14 of his cabinet ministers.
The charges against the PM were first publicly announced by Team Anna members like Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday. They want the PM to sanction a Special Investigation Team (SIT) by July 24 to study their charges against him and other ministers. They have warned of an indefinite hunger strike if their request is not accepted.