Baba issue brings dissent in Congress to the fore

Baba issue brings dissent in Congress to the fore

The whole episode, in which the Congress-led UPA government literally went from licking to kicking yoga guru Ramdev after a futile attempt to persuade him to call off indefinite fast against corruption and blackmoney issues, has irked senior leaders.

After Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, senior leader Mani Shankar Aiyar and party mouthpiece “Sandesh” questioned the decision to send four of its senior leaders to airport to receive Ramdev on June 1, it was the turn of  senior leader Vasant Sathe to term “ridiculous” the hasty decision of the government.

“It was not proper.  The whole thing was ridiculous as the government behaviour oscillated like a pendulum from laying  the red carpet to the crackdown by the police. One does not understand the rationale,” said the 86-year-old leader.

Sathe said he had never heard of such incident during the tenure of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi or Pandit Nehru.

Digvijaya Singh, who had been slamming the yoga guru ever since he launched his fast, said he was saddened to see four ministers, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee going to airport to meet Ramdev.

Singh said he was “very sad and unhappy that Pranab Da went there” and that “he (Mukherjee) virtually staked his political career” with that step.

Coming down heavily on the government, former Union minister Mani Shankar had said: “Had I been the prime minister, I would not have sent four ministers to the airport.”
Anil Shastri, editor of “Sandesh,” who is also special invitee to Congress Working Committee, in the editorial of the latest issue questioned the government decision to send ministers to the airport.

Earlier, on June 4 writing on the same lines as that of Sathe, Shastri had tweeted that “Indira Ji or Rajiv Ji would not have sent their ministers to airport to placate a ‘Baba’ arriving in a private jet.”

In another post on June 5, Shastri had criticised police crackdown at Ramlila Maidan and said that it was “unfortunate and avoidable”, adding it was the decision of the government and not the party.

Though, differences over the issue are quiet clear,  the Congress has been claiming that there is no divide between the party and the government.

Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal, one of the four ministers involved in talks with Ramdev, claimed that there was “100 per cent unity” between the government and the party in the issue.

In an attempt to play down the views expressed in Sandesh, the AICC has said the views expressed in the latest issue  are “personal” and the editor has been advised not to express his personal views in the party mouthpiece.

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