Cong to counter civil society

Cong to counter civil society

Ramdev breaks nine-day fast; Anna complains to Sonia again

Cong to counter civil society

Hours after Ramdev broke his fast in Dehradun heeding appeals of spiritual, religious and non-Congress political leaders, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was in Kolkata, launched a frontal attack against the duo alleging that a section of civil society was trying to weaken democratic institutions.

“The Constitution has given the power to legislate only to Parliament and the state Assemblies. If  5,000 or 6,000 pe­ople dictate from outside wh­at the Parliament ought to do, this will weaken democracy,”  Mu­k­herjee told a press co­nf­er­en­ce.

He also accused the Ras­htr­iya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party of trying to create trouble for the government by providing logistical support to the movement to “settle scores” as the Congress had raised its voice against right-wing extremism.

As Mukherjee spoke of launching an “awareness camp­aign” all over the country on the issue through debates, discussions and seminars, Hazare  shot off another letter to Congress president, Sonia Ga­ndhi protesting against her party leaders calling him a mask of BJP and RSS. He  challenged the Congress leaders to come out with evidence to prove their point.

In a three-page letter, a “hu­rt” Hazare said such rem­arks were part of a “conspiracy” to defame him and urged her to ensure that these leaders should not resort to character assassination and mislead people on the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Earlier, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who met 46-year-old Ramdev for the third day at a Dehradun hospital to persuade him to give up his fast, announced that the yoga guru had broken his fast by taking juice. “He ended the fast in the presence of various religious and spiritual leaders”, the Art of Living founder said.

Doctors said Ramdev would be discharged from hospital in two-three days though his condition is “stable”. The yoga guru had been fasting since June 4 to protest against graft and wa­nted the gove­rnment to ev­olve a mechanism to bring ba­ck black money stashed abroad. Ramdev’s aide Balkrishna said that the yoga guru’s struggle against graft would continue.

The Congress and the BJP welcomed Ramdev’s decision to end the fast. Congress gene­ral secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said it is “good news” while BJP spokesperson Ravi Sha­nkar Prasad said the party had a “sense of satisfaction.”

Congress spokesman Abhi­shek Manu Singhvi said, “Congress has nothing to do with it...But it is good for his health. He should have listened to medical advice earlier.”  However, another Congress general secretary, B K Hariprasad, dubbed Ramdev a “fraud” and a “dhongi (fake) baba.”

Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy had met Ramdev.

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