PM appeals to Ramdev not to fast over black money

Ramdev, however, has so far maintained that he would indeed go on fast.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself made an appeal to Ramdev to call off the fast proposal. “The government is serious about black money and bringing it back to India.

The Baba should call off the proposed agitation,” he told reporters here on Tuesday. “We hope Baba Ramdev will not take recourse to agitation. We will make another effort to persuade him not to undertake it,” Singh said.

After chairing a meeting of the Cabinet committee on political affairs (CCPA) on Monday where the fast threat was discussed, Singh asked Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to send a team of officials from his ministry to convince the Yoga guru on the black money issue. Earlier, the government had deputed Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sudhir Chandra to persuade Ramdev not to undertake the agitation but the effort failed.

Though there was no respite from Ramdev, the government has been watching with glee the differences that have surfaced between him and other civil society leaders over certain proposals of the Lokpal Bill. While Anna Hazare and other non-official members of the Bill drafting committee demanded that the prime minister, higher judiciary and MPs be brought under the purview of the Bill, Ramdev opposed it.

“All people holding constitutional posts should come under the Lokpal. The inclusion of the prime minister and the chief justice of India is a tricky question. If questions are raised on the integrity of a person sitting at the head of a democracy, then how will democracy survive? And if you doubt the head of the judicial system, then how can you assume that the Lokayukta will be more honest,” Ramdev asked.

The Income Tax department said on Tuesday that it was ready to consider Ramdev’s suggestions for unearthing unaccounted money. The government should consider his suggestions as they are constructive, said CBDT Chairman Sudhir Chandra. He had earlier briefed Ramdev on the steps being taken by the government to unearth black money.

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