Ramdev takes on Congress, warns of march to Parliament
Baba Ramdev, who has been observing a fast on the Ramlila Maidan here, on Sunday warned that he might march to Parliament on Monday and court arrest if the government continued to “ignore” his demands on black money and the Lokpal Bill.
The warning came after he wrote to the Prime Minister as the government is yet to open an official channel of communication with him.
What began as a “symbolic” fast on Thursday, entered its fourth day on Sunday. The yoga guru was to have announced his plans on Saturday evening, but he had been extending the deadline and deferring the announcement of his next course of action.
On Saturday, he said he would announce his strategy on Sunday morning, but deferred it for the evening with a letter to the Prime Minister. And on Sunday evening, he again deferred the decision to Monday morning.
“If the government does not listen to our demands then it should better be ready with a big jail which can accommodate such a large crowd,” he said, referring to his supporters. The crowd has decreased since Saturday.
Social activist Kiran Bedi and the former Army Chief, General (retd.), V.K. Singh, visited Ramlila Maidan on Sunday, extending their support to the yoga guru. Ramdev raised the pitch against the UPA government, blaming the Congress for all the ills plaguing the country, including corruption and poverty. He said if the government did not deliver on his demands of the Lokpal Bill and curbing black money and corruption, he would ask people not to vote for the ruling party.
“It [the Congress] has ruled the nation for the majority of the years since Independence. Hence, it is responsible for 90 per cent of the problems relating to corruption. If the rulers of the country stop listening to the demands of millions of people they better leave their posts.”
This high-pitch stand against the Congress was in complete contrast to his stance at the beginning of the fast. On Thursday, he lauded Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and invited her to the fast venue.
He said the government should declare the black money stashed away abroad as a “national asset.”
Shifting the focus of the debate to farmers, General Singh termed the government a “property dealer” of farmers’ land.
“It is shocking but true that over two lakh farmers have committed suicide since 1995. The problems of farmers will have to take the forefront in this movement as the government has turned a blind eye to their woes,” he said.
Ms. Bedi asked the crowd to “raise a united front against corruption” and “form a coalition against the corrupt.”
“We also need a law to control black money. If there is a Lokpal, then black money in India will come down but for that to happen we need a vote bank of honest persons,” she said.