Ramdev adamant on fast, Anna upset with government
Gurgaon/Ralegaon Siddhi: Pressing ahead with plans to go on a fast, yoga guru Baba Ramdev Thursday hinted at maximum punishment for the corrupt even as Gandhian activist Anna Hazare came out in his support and accused the government of cheating on the Lokpal Bill.
Ramdev, who met his close associates but called off his press conference at the Ramlila ground in Delhi Thursday, told reporters in Gurgaon: “More than 70 lakh people die of hunger every year in the country according to the Global Hunger Index.
“Those who are indirectly responsible for the death of more than 70 lakh people, what should be the punishment for them?” Ramdev said.
“No one sees 70 lakh people dying, but if a corrupt is being hanged, they say ‘save him’”.
Ramdev, who enjoys a huge following for offering cures for many lifestyle related disease through yoga, is to go on a fast from Saturday in New Delhi’s sprawling Ramlila Maidan to demand measures to curb corruption and bring back black money stashed abroad.
In an unprecedented act that appeared to betray official nervousness, as many as four ministers, including Pranab Mukherjee, met Ramdev when he arrived at the Delhi airport Wednesday — to try stop his hunger strike.
Ramdev, after meeting his close associates, was expected to have another round of discussion with government representatives again Thursday.
“The black money stashed abroad should be declared national property, and keeping black money should be considered a crime at par with sedition,” Ramdev said. Sedition can lead to death sentence.
But he quickly added: “We are not staging any protest or rebellion.”
Gandhian Hazare, who also went on fast in April to press for a strong anti-graft Lokpal bill, extended his support to the yoga guru. But he cautioned him against “government tactics”.
“Four ministers went there to receive him, had one or two gone it was fine. When so many ministers go, it means they are trying to fool Baba. They will give assurances to delay the matter,” he said in his village Ralegaon Siddhi.
“I’ll talk to Baba Ramdev so that he does not get influenced by government tactics. The government should not do to Baba what they did to us,” Hazare told reporters.
A bulk SMS sent in Hazare’s name also said, “Government has cheated us on Janlokpal Bill, I will join Baba Ramdev June 5.”
Cutting short his Kerala trip, Hazare will be with the fasting Ramdev Sunday at the Ramllila ground. He was supposed to be in Kochi June 4 and 5.
“There are no differences between us and Swamiji. We completely support his movement and I will join him on Sunday for a few hours,” the veteran anti-corruption crusader said.
Hazare, however, said he would not fast with Ramdev but support him.