Dehradun/New Delhi: Yoga guru Ramdev ended his nine-day-old fast in the presence of various religious and spiritual leaders here on Sunday. Doctors attending Ramdev said he will be discharged from hospital in two-three days though his condition is "stable".

Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar, who met the 46-year-old yoga exponent for the third day at a Dehradun hospital, said, "Ramdev has broken his fast by taking juice. He ended the fast in the presence of various religious and spiritual leaders".

Yoga guru, who went on his hunger strike to protest against corruption and black money issues, was admitted to the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences here on Friday after his condition deteriorated at his Patanjali Yogapeeth ashram in Haridwar.

Vijay Dhasmana, the hospital director, said, "I am thankful to everyone who came here and helped Ramdev to break his fast. His health is not such that he can be discharged on Sunday.

"It will take two-three days for him to be out of this hospital. By evening he will be shifted to a deluxe general ward. His condition is stable and he has broken his fast," he said.

The yoga exponent's close associate Balakrishna, who also ended his fast at the hospital, said, "Ramdev has considered the request of hundreds of his followers and people from the saints' fraternity". He said, "He (Ramdev) will take this satyagraha forward till his last breath.

"The protest will continue till our last breath. Ramdev wants black money to be declared as national wealth constitutionally. We appeal to all our followers and other people to break their fast as well," Balakrishna said, adding "I also thank the media for helping us in spreading the message against corruption to the masses".

Asked if the battle against the government was lost, Balakrishna said, "It is not a matter of who wins or who loses. The aim was to wake up the nation against corruption and now people have woken up and the fight will continue."

Janata Party Chief Subramanian Swamy said, "I was here when Ramdev took a glass of juice from Sri Sri Ravishankar and broke his fast. It is a matter of great satisfaction for the
whole nation. Protests should be done in front of people who have a heart. Protests against corruption will continue. We all are with him."

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Art of Living founder, had been meeting Ramdev at the hospital to persuade him to end his hunger strike. He had come from Haridwar where he had gone to
immerse the ashes of his father who died recently.

Morari Bapu, a religious leader, said, "I have been associated with Ramdev through spirituality and I came to meet him and to take stock of his health. I am happy to note that
he has broken the fast and taken juice. Whatever message he wanted to give has been given."

Soon after the announcement was made that Ramdev had ended his fast, a number of his supporters shouted anti-government and pro-Ramdev slogans.

"We all are happy that Ramdev has broken his fast and we all are with him to fight corruption and to bring back black money," said Rajesh Kumar, a follower who came here from Jharkhand along with 50 others.

Earlier doctors attending on him had said, "His condition is stable. Ramdev's blood pressure and pulse rate and all other parameters are the same. There was slight variation in his BP. It has tripped thrice today."

Neurologist Dr Deepak Goel, who is part of the team treating Ramdev, said, "He is facing problem in speaking. He has complained of weakness. We are giving him saline drip with
vitamins. A team of doctors which is looking after him has said that he should be allowed oral feeding to save his life."

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala had also met Ramdev this morning.

Badal told reporters, "I want the government to accept all his demands as they are for welfare of the whole nation. We will be conveying to the Centre that it is their responsibility to save a human life who is fighting for people's cause."

Defensive Congress terms it "good news"

Congress on Sunday came out with a guarded response to yoga guru Ramdev's decision to call off his fast against corruption, saying it is "good news" but the party had played no role in the decision.

"It is good news that Ramdev has broken his fast," Congress General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said here responding to the development.

Another party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi, however, reacted cautiously to the development saying the decision to fast and call it off was Ramdev's and "Congress has nothing to do with it...But it is good for his health. He should have listened to medical advice earlier."

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari held that fasts have now become part of the problem than becoming a solution.

"The sacred instrument of protest should not be converted into an agent of destabilisation. Fasts have become a part of the problem rather than a part of solution," Tewari said.

He claimed that as India enters the third decade of liberalisation, "certain legacy issues need to be addressed in the spirit of constructive cooperation rather than becoming
handy tools for unwarranted establishment bashing."

BJP expresses satisfaction

BJP however expressed "satisfaction" over yoga guru Ramdev's decision to end his
fast while maintaining that the government's inaction to bring back Indian blackmoney stashed abroad was "unacceptable".

BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said the party has a "sense of satisfaction" at Ramdev's decision to break his fast following pleas by eminent saints and RSS chief
Mohan Bhagwat.
He said BJP veteran L K Advani was the first to raise the issue black money in May, 2009 and the party undertook a campaign against it.

"But the government headed by Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, instead of taking action, let loose the worst form of repression in a civilised democratic history of India at the
Ramlila Maidan. That is the real face of Congress," he said.

The BJP MP also slammed the government for raising the "bogey of RSS" whenever it is cornered on the issue of corruption.

He said during the 70s when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister, Jai Prakash Narain and Acharya Kriplani were dubbed as RSS faces and V P Singh faced similar charges when
he raised the issue of Bofors.

"This time also painting Ramdev and Gandhian Anna Hazare as RSS faces is deeply regrettable," he said.

(JPN/Agencies)