Ahead of popular yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s highly publicised indefinite fast to demand an end to corruption and black money, it’s not just the government which is worried.
File photo: Social activist Anna Hazare addresses a press conference in New Delhi.
Signs of uneasiness are clearly visible in the Anna Hazare camp too. Faced with a deadlock in the joint panel drafting the lokpal bill and prospects of Ramdev drawing huge crowds in his north Indian bastion, Hazare reached out to the yoga guru on Thursday in a bid to avoid being eclipsed by him.
The Gandhian spent the day in front of TV cameras, pledging support to Ramdev and dismissing talk of differences with him on proposed lokpal.
“There are no differences between us and Swamiji (Ramdev). We completely support his movement and I’ll join him on Sunday for a few hours,” Hazare was quoted in a statement issued by the India Against Corruption outfit led by him.
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Hazare's utterances, despite a show of solidarity with Ramdev, gave an impression of his discomfiture at the attention the yoga guru has been getting from the government.
He criticised government's unusual step of sending as many as four senior ministers, including finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, to the airport to receive Ramdev and talk to him.
“There was no need for so many ministers to go. One or two ministers would have been enough. When so many ministers go, it means there is a plan of fraud. Sign papers, make promises — all this is to pass time,” Hazare said.
“Once the time passes, they (government) will do what they want. When I went on a fast, it reached such a stage that the government conceded all our demands to save itself. Now, they have backed out,” Hazare said.
The social activist said his team had been “cheated” by the government over the issue of brining the Prime Minister and higher judiciary within the purview of the proposed lokpal's investigative powers.
“It is a fraud if the government agrees on certain issues and says the Prime Minister will be accountable to the lokpal and later backs out,” Hazare said.