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Ramdev, Team Anna share stage, not views


The split was wide open by the time the day-long fast held jointly by social activist Anna Hazare and yoga guru Ramdev against corruption ended at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Sunday. Ramdev, who described Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as an honest person, was quick and very public in disapproving Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal’s remarks against Singh and other political leaders, saying he was against “personal criticism”.


Kejriwal, who along with other team members has been targeting the PM and his ministers for more than a week, continued the diatribe Sunday.


As 4,500 people braving hot and humid Delhi weather listened in rapt attention, Kejriwal termed Singh and his cabinet colleagues as corrupt. As soon as the former Indian Revenue Service officer ended his address, Ramdev grabbed the microphone.


“Today, we thought that we will not take anybody's names. But, Arvind took the names. We don't want any controversies. Arvind does not have any enmity with anyone. We are against personal criticism," the yoga guru told the gathering.


Soon after, Kejriwal was seen leaving the venue — apparently to take medicines but it was seen as a reaction to yoga guru's "snub". Both sides, however, downplayed the incident, saying Kejriwal was diabetic and had to take his medicines. 


Kejriwal later tweeted he was unwell and would speak to Ramdev and convince him that "naming and shaming" was important in a political battle.


Hazare, who steered clear of naming anyone, reiterated demand for poll reforms and pushed for right to reject and right to recall.


A year ago, Team Anna had refused to join Ramdev's fast against black money and did not allow him on the stage -- because of his "Hindutva links" -- when the social activist was fasting in August.


Both sides, however, decided to join hands and the fast at Jantar Mantar was seen as a significant step in this direction.


But it doesn't seem to have worked. Ramdev and Team Anna are ready with their separate plans.


Ramdev will collect signatures from all villages in support of demand for bringing back "black money" stashed abroad and plans another campaign from August 9 to push the issue.


Team Anna's second indefinite fast begins July 23.


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