Anna Hazare on Wednesday backed yoga guru Baba Ramdev on his decision to go for fast against corruption as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a meeting with his cabinet colleagues who had earlier tried to persuade the yoga guru to withdraw his call for an indefinite fast from June 4.
“He (Ramdev) has our full support,” Hazare told a TV channel when asked whether he supports the yoga guru’s decision to go on hunger strike.
Other civil society members from Hazare group said there were no differences between them and the yoga guru and they support his fight against corruption.
Activist Arvind Kejriwal said they were with Ramdev and the differences which were being projected are ‘completely artificial.’
Justice Santosh Hedge said he would support any movement against corruption and mal-administration.
Kiran Bedi said the government has gone wiser after the Anna Hazare episode. “Baba Ramdev has a huge following. It is good if government wants to prevent a situation like that,” she said.
Ramdev did a volte face on his Tuesday’s statement that the Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India should be kept out of Lokpal’s purview.
He also said Hazare will support his campaign to bring back the black money stashed in tax havens abroad.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram and HRD Minister Kapil Sibal briefed Manmohan Singh on their discussions with Ramdev during the meeting that lasted over an hour.
The leaders are also understood to have discussed the yoga guru’s proposals and ways to defuse the situation. Cabinet Secretary K. M. Chandraseker and Principal Secretary to the PM T. K. A. Nair were also present in the meeting in which Singh was briefed about the parleys held Ramdev.
The government’s efforts to prevent a repeat of a situation that unfolded when Anna Hazare-led civil society mounted a campaign for a strong Lokpal in April appeared to have not yielded immediate fruits as Ramdev insisted on ‘action’ rather than ‘assurances’ on the issue of bringing back black money stashed abroad.
Sources said that Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay, who was among the ministers who met Ramdev Wednesday, will play a key role in persuading the yoga guru to call off his protest.
Sahay was in the US leading a delegation of his ministry when he was roped in by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to join the efforts to make the yoga guru call off his protest. In the two-hour long meeting with Union ministers, Ramdev is learnt to have demand the constitution of a special committee on bringing back black money and making public the names of those who have stashed their ill-gotten money abroad.
Besides the issue of black money, the yoga guru also raised the issue of acquisition of farm lands by government and uniformity in wages of workers, they said. Asian Age