BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: Despite using all its persuasive might, the government on Wednesday failed to convince Baba Ramdev to call-off his planned fast on the issue of corruption.
In an unprecedented step, senior ministers led by Pranab Mukherjee, met Ramdev at the Delhi airport, upon his arrival in the city, and discussed his demands for more than two hours but they failed to cut much ice with the yoga guru.
Besides Pranab, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay were present during the meeting.
Briefing reporters after the talks, a tight-lipped Kapil Sibal said, “We met Ramdevji today. The conversations carried on for 2 ½ hours. He raised a lot of important issues which impact future of the country. We listened to him and prima facie responded to him.”
“We have agreed that we would be meeting each other and carry on with the dialogue in the next couple of days. “
When specifically asked whether the government has been able to convince Ramdev against his fast-unto-death, Sibal had only this to say: “This is all I wish to say at this moment.”
However, Ramdev was much more forthcoming about what transpired at the meeting. Most importantly he announced that the plan to sit on fast from June 4 stands unchanged and that people would participate in it from all districts of the country.
Stressing that his fight is not against any individual or party, Ramdev said that there has been agreement with the government on certain issues but it can be of any consequence only if the government takes constructive steps.
The yoga guru turned anti-corruption crusader has been demanding that Rs 400 lakh crore of black money stashed abroad be brought back and declared as a national asset. Ramdev who is also a strong votary of an effective Lokpal Bill argues life term and death sentence for the corrupt. In addition, he demands change in the electoral system. The yoga guru wants the PM be elected directly by the people.
Ramdev also demanded that a new Public services guarantee Act be enacted to curb corruption. He also wants the setting up of special fast-track courts at the Centre as well as the states to ensure speedy trial in corruption cases.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had written a letter to Ramdev, appealing to not go on fast but the yoga guru rejected the request.