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Ramdev gives Congress Hatao, Desh Bachao call, police goofup makes yoga guru a hero

New Delhi, Aug 13: Hours before his arrest while taking a march to Parliament, yoga guru Swami Ramdev gave the Congress Hatao, Desh Bachao slogan to his supporters, thus showing his marked preference for an
India TV News Desk September 23, 2012 12:37 IST
India TV News Desk
New Delhi, Aug 13: Hours before his arrest while taking a march to Parliament, yoga guru Swami Ramdev gave the Congress Hatao, Desh Bachao slogan to his supporters, thus showing his marked preference for an anti-Congress platform.

For the last two years, Ramdev had been avoiding naming Congress leaders in his agitation to bring back offshore black money, but with Congress leaders turning a Nelson's eye this time to his five-day fast, the yoga guru, furious after a long wait for emissaries, gave the anti-Congress call.

Notable supporters for Ramdev were BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and NDA convener and JD-U leader Sharad Yadav who came to Ramlila Maidan to publicly offer their support.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, BSP supremo Mayawati, Biju Janata Dal supremo Naveen Patnaik, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and Telugu Desam party supremo N Chandrababu Naidu in separate statements demanded that the government take steps to bring back offshore black money, an indication of Ramdev's growing political clout.

“The government has become completely deaf. We have to make them hear us. Now our protest will be outside Parliament.  We are not talking about gherao,” Ramdev said while addressing his supporters  this morning.

“Lok Sabha polls will be in 2014 and 99 per cent could be in 2013. This protest is to ensure that no dishonest person enters Parliament. Such people should be boycotted. We do not have a political agenda,” he said.

The reactions of political leaders to Ramdev's agitation make interesting reading. BSP supremo Mayawati  today demanded steps to bring back black money into the country and extended her support to all anti-corruption agitations which were above party politics.

The former UP Chief Minister said if the Centre had taken timely steps to address the matter, the Supreme Court would not have had to intervene in the “serious issue”.“We have supported every such organisation and stage which is above party politics and agitating against corruption... This is a serious matter and all political parties should rise above party politics and make efforts toend corruption,” Mayawati told reporters in Delhi.

The BSP chief was asked if her party supported the anti-corruption agitation of yoga guru Ramdev.

“It is the Centre's responsibility to take along all parties and try to find a way to bring back black money and ifthis money comes back to India, people living below poverty line will be able to lead a decent life,” she said.

Asked if BSP would support Ramdev's agitation which was backed by NDA leaders, she said, “I don't have to say anything about anybody's platform... There should be some middle paththrough which the money away stashed in foreign banks can be brought back.”

Mayawati's political bete noire Mulayam Singh Yadav also said  his party will support anybody who fights for the cause.“Our party is against black money. Whoever talks about bringing back black money, we will support (him). If black money comes back to the country, it will do good for the nation and its people.

“Black money should come back. It is our own issue.Whoever raises the issue it is good and we support him,” Mulayam said.

The SP leader evaded a reply when asked to comment on Ramdev's claim that UPA is a sinking ship.

However, his cousin  Ram Gopal Yadav took a dig at BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav for sharing dias with Ramdev.

“People who don't trust their cadres and feel that theycannot win elections without support of others only do such thing. I will not go to any such stage,” he said.

The agitation at Ramlila Maidan appeared to be fizzling out on day five but for the surprising decision of Delhi Police to allow Ramdev to sit atop a bus with his supporters marching with him, drawing spectators and crowds on the  busy roads of Delhi. Ramdev could have been easily taken away in a police vehicle to the temporary jail in Bawana.

It was apparent that the Delhi Police officials were not getting a clear direction from ‘the new Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, as they had got on June 3 last year from his predecessor P. Chidambaram.

In that brutal midnight crackdown, Ramdev had to wear a woman's dress to escape the police dragnet, even as Delhi policemen brutally lathicharged old women, aged people and other females at midnight on the same very Ramlila Maidan.