Worried over Baba Ramdev’s indefinite fast from Saturday, Government on Wednesday took an extraordinary step to woo him by deputing Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and three other senior ministers to the airport for talks but he appeared not to relent on his plans.
In a bid to prevent a repeat of a situation that evolved when Anna Hazare-led civil society mounted a campaign against corruption in April, Mukherjee accompanied by Kapil Sibal, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Subodh Kant Sahay held talks at the T3 terminal here with Ramdev who arrived by chartered jet from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.
Baba Ramdev, who earlier in the morning did a volte face on his yesterday’s statement that the Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India should be kept out of Lokpal’s purview, told reporters after the meeting that the first round of talks has been positive and there will be further dialogue with the government.
“On June four there will be a satyagraha (protest fast) in Ramlila Maidan as well as in 624 districts across as crores of people want the country to be rid of black money, corruption and demand a change in system,” he said.
To a question on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s appeal to him not to go ahead with his fast plans, he said “I do not believe in fear or creating fear. We have raised issues of national interest. This fight is not against any person and any party. So we are not criticising anybody.”
The government virtually rolled the red carpet for the Yoga guru whose campaign will demand repatriation of all black money stashed abroad and an ordinance is issued for means to bringing it back.
“The talks will continue with Baba Ramdev over the next couple of days. We discussed a number of issues of national significance. The dialogue was not limited to a couple of issues. Ramdev also raised a broad number of issues,” Sibal told reporters after a nearly two and a half hours meeting between government ministers and Baba Ramdev.
Meanwhile, hectic preparations – including the erection of a huge tent to accommodate 20,000 people – were in progress at the Ramlila grounds for Saturday’s fast. Economic Times