Opposition backs Ramdev's anti-graft campaign

Yoga gurus backers choke Delhi, court arrest

Opposition backs Ramdev's anti-graft campaign

 Many key partners in the NDA and UPA alliances lent their support to yoga guru Ramdev on the last day of his five-day fast against corruption here, which turned into a defiant challenge to the government with the yoga exponent and his followers courting arrest.

To the discomfort of the government which has had to cope with Ramdev’s ceaseless attacks on it for the last five days, many leaders of the NDA, and surprisingly enough the UPA partners Samajwadi Party and BSP visited Ramdev to express their support to him.
With rain making it a miserable day in Delhi, Ramdev’s supporters marched from Ramlila grounds to Parliament, choking the streets, and creating long traffic jams and forcing the police to arrest them.

The yoga guru and his supporters thwarted the police plan to take them out of the Capital, forcing the law enforcers to take them to Ambedkar Stadium, where the protesters stayed put for the night, demanding food.

Earlier, BJP president Nitin Gadkari and Janata Dal(United) chief Sharad Yadav shared the dais with the yoga guru, who has asked the UPA government to take steps to bring back black money stashed abroad. Giving further boost to his campaign, Ramdev secured support from an unlikely combination of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati.

Apart from them, the Telugu Desam and the Akali Dal also supported him and were present at Ramlila Maidan here.

The Congress and other partners of the ruling United Progressive Alliance, however, stayed away from the fast even as Congress chief spokesman Janardhan Dwivedi accused the yoga guru of fighting a “political battle” in the name of campaigning against black money.

In a statement from Patna, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar too threw his support behind Ramdev.

Gadkari denies politics

Addressing the gathering at Ramlila grounds, Gadkari pledged his party's support to the yoga guru's agitation and attacked the Congress-led UPA government on issues like corruption and black money, “There is no political agenda to this agitation. This is an agitation of the people of the country and not of one single party. Black money should be brought back to the country and spent on the country's development,” he said.

Joining in the tirade against the Congress-led UPA government, NDA convenor Sharad Yadav called for autonomy of the CBI and said there was a need to give a new direction to the economic policies “which currently creates jobs for those who have received English education.”

Minutes after the NDA leaders left the venue, Ramdev announced that he and his followers would protest outside the Parliament House and vowed to oust Congress in the next Lok Sabha polls.

Completely deaf

“The government has become completely deaf. It can't hear the voice of India over the issue of corruption from Ramlila Maidan. We have to make them hear us. Now our protest will be outside Parliament,” Ramdev said, asking people to follow him in his march to Parliament House.

“Lok Sabha polls are scheduled to be held in 2014. But there is 99 per cent chance that it may take place in 2013. This movement is to ensure that no dishonest person enters Parliament,” he added.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday said his party would support anyone who raises voice against black money in foreign banks. The BSP supremo, Mayawati, asked the Centre to take steps to repatriate black money and extended her support to all anti-corruption agitations which were above party politics.

The BSP leader said that if the Centre had taken timely steps to address the matter, the Supreme Court would not have had to intervene in the "serious issue". Both Yadav and Mayawati are facing charges of amassing disproportionate assets.

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