Cong talks tough at core group meet on Ramdev

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev with social activist and Lokpal Bill drafting committee member Anna Hazare in New Delhi. (FILE PHOTO)
 
New Delhi, june 2 (Agencies): Worried over Baba Ramdev’s plan to start an indefinite fast against corruption from Saturday, Congress leaders met again on Thursday. Sources said Baba Ramdev is in discussion with a desperate Government and will announce the results of the talks on Friday. According to the sources, on Thursday, he spoke to Congress leader and Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahay on the phone and has been requested not to speak until after a meeting with ministers is over. Accordingly, Ramdev’s scheduled interaction with the media has been postponed.
The development comes even as the Congress Core Committee is meeting to devise a strategy to counter the Ramdev challenge. According to the sources, the Congress talked tough at the core group meet and said that the Government will continue its talks with Ramdev but on its own terms and conditions. The Government has rejected Baba Ramdev’s demand of pulling 500 and 1000 rupees notes out of the market. “As a responsible and sensitive Government, we are engaging everyone constructively to find practical and real solutions in national interest. This should not be mistaken as sign of weakness or fear,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Earlier, Ramdev had reiterated his decision to launch his crusade against black money and said that that he would launch his hunger strike at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on June 4.
“I have the support of the people. The campaign is against corruption, to bring a change in the system. All discussions are in the interest of the nation. Talks with the government on all issues have been positive. I can proceed with talks with government when on fast as well,” Ramdev said. Baba Ramdev demanded that a task force should be formed to tackle the black money issue and also demanded:
1. Task force should first quantify black money
2. Should ensure passing a resolution against black money at UN.
He has further demanded:
a) Minimum Support Price (MSP) of grains be increased substantially.
b) Wages of different categories of labourers be made uniform across the country
c) Pro-farmer Land Acquisition Bill be brought quickly
d) Hindi like Japanese & Chinese be promoted countrywide.
The Government sources said they are in agreement with Ramdev on Black money but the modus operandi has to be worked out and this is something that can’t be worked out in 24 hours. Now, the cornered government has decided to send more emissaries to persuade Ramdev not to undertake his fast. A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs was held a few days back to discuss Ramdev’s fast and Singh had also written a letter to the yoga guru asking him not to go ahead with the fast, promising him to find a “practical and pragmatic” solution to tackle the issue of corruption.
 
Hazare extends support to Ramdev’s fast against corruption
 
New Delhi, May 2 (PTI): Accusing the government of cheating civil rights activists on the issue of Lokpal Bill, Anna Hazare on Thursday extended his support to yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s fast against corruption and said he will join the agitation. The Gandhian said that the government lacks intention to root out corruption from the system. “I will join Baba Ramdev on June 5. The fight is against corruption. The government has tried to cheat us. The government had assured us that they would look into our demand,” he said, adding that he would hold discussions with the yoga guru on the way forward.
He said the government has “cheated” civil rights activists on the issue of Lokpal Bill and people have realised the betrayal by the government. “I will support Baba Ramdev so that the government does not do what it did when we were fighting. We will fight together against corruption,” he said, adding that “henceforth, we will not be content with oral assurances on the issue of weeding out corruption“. Hazare also noted that the yoga guru has a standing in the public and wherever he goes people gather to hear him. His remarks came a day after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee accompanied by Kapil Sibal, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Subodh Kant Sahay held talks with Baba Ramdev to persuade him to give up his indefinite fast on corruption but the yoga guru said he would go ahead with it from June 4.
Hazare also made it clear that everybody should come under the ambit of the Lokpal Bill. He said the government was getting its act together now only after Baba Ramdev made it clear that he would start his agitation from June 4.  “For so many days we are demanding (immediate implementation of the Lokpal Bill), why did the government not listen to us. Now the government is running just because time has to come to sit on fast, he said. “Baba Ramdev has been raising the issue of black money from so many days. Why did the government not think of doing something on the issue. People have now come to know what the intentions of the government are,” he said. Hazare said the fight against corruption will continue till their demands are met. “Now no more hollow assurances and oral promises. What we want is action and the fight against corruption will continue throughout the country till we get what we want,” he said.
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