Ramdev begins low-key fast against graft

I have no political agenda, says yoga guru

Ramdev begins low-key fast against graft

Betraying no plans of confronting the government this time, yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Thursday began his three-day fast against black money and corruption on a low-key at the Ramleela Maidan here.

Though he described it as a “decisive battle”, he said it was apolitical.
The government reciprocated by saying it was open to talks. Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Bansal told reporters that the government was keen to pass the Lokpal Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament.

Despite the assurance, activist Anna Hazare did not take part. Nor did members of his disbanded team.  Civil society was conspicuous by its absence, while the usual crowd of believers and practitioners of yoga were there to greet the yoga teacher. The roughly 15,000-strong crowd came from different parts of the country.

Ramdev showed his admiration for Anna, but refused commenting on Team Anna saying it might trigger controversy.

“I am not against any political party. We don’t aim at dislodging anyone from power. My doors are also open to Sonia Gandhi. I have no political agenda. My only agenda is to protect our nation's prosperity," he clarified.

Ramdev kept everyone guessing the duration of his fast until he declared that he was on a 3-day symbolic fast, “No indefinite anshan (fast), only a symbolic fast for three days.”

He also expanded the scope of his movement for bringing unaccounted black money
stashed away in foreign banks to demanding a strong Lokpal Bill. Co-opting Anna Hazare’s demand for strong Lokpal, he said, "We want a strong Lokpal Bill.

He insisted that the Bill should be enacted without delay but cautioned against pushing through “a sarkari Lokpal Bill”. It could be amended later, he said.

“A sarkari bill will be like a sarkari CBI,” he said.  According to observers, his declaration of not aligning with any party could mean that he does not want to turn the Ramleela Maidan into a battle ground unlike his previous fast which provoked a midnight police crackdown.

As he and the Opposition BJP have never hidden their proximity, BJP members mentioned his fast in Parliament

Comments (+)