Anti-Corruption

Ramdev Rejects PM’s Appeal to Postpone Hunger Strike; Adamant on Stand

BeyondHeadlines  Staff Reporter

New Delhi: Refusing to accept Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s request to call off his fast, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev today urged people to join him in the campaign against black money. He said that he would go ahead with his fast-unto-death from June 4 at famous Ramlila Maidan in the national capital.

File photo of Swami Ramdev with Congress leader Digvijay Singh

“The prime minister has appealed that I should postpone my program to sit on hunger strike, but I will start my fast from June 4 to save our country,” the yoga guru turned satyagarahi baba said.

The prime minister had written to Ramdev “welcoming his constructive suggestions to improve governance” and promised him to find a “practical and pragmatic” solution to tackle the issue of corruption.

The prime minister made the appeal even as Baba Ramdev made it clear he is not on the same page as Anna Hazare on all issues, saying that the PM should not come under the ambit of the Lokpal Bill.

But Ramdev is not convinced. He wants specific laws that can tackle the menace of corruption and black money.

Speaking to a congregation in the morning yoga session in Ujjain today, Ramdev said he was confident of full cooperation by the centre. “I am going to Delhi with full confidence, and I hope to bring back all the Indian black money,” he said.

Baba Ramdev asked people to join him in his proposed fast over black money.

“There should be a national debate on whether the prime minister and the chief justice of India (CJI) should be in the ambit of the Lokpal Bill. The decision of the people should be accepted,” he added.

Ramdev has four demands:

1. Black money worth Rs 400 lakh crore is lying in several international banks should be brought back and declared as national property

2. United Nations Convention Against Corruption Agreement, which has been pending since 2006, should be resent

3. Bring down the circulation of high denomination value currencies to reduce black money circulation

4. Drafting of a strong Lokpal Bill

The government had recently sent some of its top Income Tax officials to brief Ramdev on the issue of black money and illicit funds abroad. And, today, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is expected to meet Ramdev and try and impress upon him the government’s seriousness about tackling the issue and also request him to call of his fast.

The yoga guru had actively supported the anti-corruption movement of Anna Hazare but has of late been open in expressing differences of opinion on specific issues like bringing the Prime Minister and the Chief justice of India under the purview of Lokpal Bill.

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