Condemning the police action against Baba Ramdev’s agitation, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday sought to hold Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi responsible for it and announced a 24-hour stir across the country to register the party’s protest.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari said the “police crackdown” was reminiscent of the Emergency days and alleged that Congress was not ready to discuss corruption issue through democratic means like that period.
“The crackdown by police came on the orders of the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi. We strongly condemn it…The Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi must apologise to the people,” Mr. Gadkari said addressing a press conference in Lucknow.
The BJP chief also announced a 24-hour agitation at district level across the country in protest against the “police high-handedness.”
Detailing the programme for the agitation, he said the party workers will hold satyagrah at Rajghat in Delhi.
Replying to questions, he said the issue of corruption should not be politicised.
At the same time, he said it was BJP which had raised the issue of black money and corruption first and that it will support the organisations fighting against it.
Describing the midnight crackdown on Baba Ramdev and his followers as ‘naked fascism’, senior BJP leader L. K. Advani demanded an apology from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi for the incident.
Likening the situation to the Emergency era of 1975, Mr. Advani said President Prathibha Patil should not remain a ’passive observer’ to the developments and demanded that she convene an ‘emergency session’ of Parliament to discuss the issue besides black money and corruption.
“I did not anticipate this kind of action (against Ramdev). Not only was he arrested but women and children (who were participating in the fast) were beaten up which reminds me of the Jallianwala Bagh incident in Punjab (during the British rule).”
“The Prime Minister and Congress President owe an apology not only to Ramdev but the people of India,” he said.
Advani recalled that it was in 1975 when a “desperate government“’ (under late Indira Gandhi) had clamped Emergency which was an “assault on media and one which undermined the constitution.”
He said the then “desperate government,” instead of responding to the “right demands and suggestions of people,” chose to impose emergency in which many opposition leaders including himself were arrested under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA).
Mr. Advani recalled that Ramdev had not only supported him when he first raised the black money issue two years back but had also talked about it in his yoga sessions. Hindu