As the second day of the three-day “symbolic fast” drew to a close on Friday, yoga guru Baba Ramdev upped the ante against the UPA government on the issue of black money, corruption, and the Lokpal Bill, targeting the Prime Minister. Reminding the government that it had just one day to respond to his demands, the yoga guru announced that he wouldn’t move from Ramlila Maidan without concrete action on his demands.
Addressing a large gathering, Ramdev said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh needed to go beyond his personal honesty and become “courageous enough” to recover black money stashed away in foreign banks. “We need an honest Prime Minister. I want the Prime Minister to demonstrate his political honesty and political will on the issue of black money.”
He claimed that the government had a list of people who have kept money in foreign banks. “We don’t want the names of those people, but at least disclose the amount. What is the problem in it? Why is the Government so reluctant?” said Ramdev, who estimated it to be to the tune of 40 trillion rupees.
“Time for parties
to take a stand”
“We have spelt out our agenda,” said Ramdev, adding, “It’s time for the political parties to take a stand. Till they do, we won’t leave from here. The UPA government needs to tell the country of its stand on black money and corruption. We will give them time till tomorrow.”
Connecting terrorism, naxalism and farmers’ suicide with black money, Ramdev said once black money was brought into the country again, these problems will be solved. “Once black money is returned to the country we will have great educational institutions, first-class hospitals. Naxalism and terrorism are the two big issues. The root cause is black money.”
The crowd, which had come from States around Delhi and afar, cheered Ramdev every time he raised a slogan, but few of them seemed aware of his campaign. Nagendra Singh has come to the Ramlila Maidan to support the agitation from Western Uttar Pradesh because he thinks Baba is “fit enough” to take up a campaign against corruption and return black money. “I am a follower of Baba. Even though his base is mainly yoga, only he, with his popular support among masses, can lead the agitation,” said Mr. Singh, who is a school teacher.