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Cong distances itself from four senior ministers receiving Ramdev

PTI  New Delhi, June 01, 2011
First Published: 21:47 IST(1/6/2011) | Last Updated: 23:00 IST(1/6/2011)

Congress on Wednesday distanced itself from the government's unprecedented step of sending four senior ministers to the airport to receive Baba Ramdev in a bid to persuade him not to go ahead with the protest from June 4 saying it was "unnecessary" and the party has "nothing to do" with it.

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"The party is not at all related to this entire exercise from here to the airport (ministers going to the airport to receive the Yoga Guru)," top sources in Congress said commenting on the government's move, which indicated the unease in the party over the issue.

The sources also suggested that Congress President Sonia Gandhi was not in the loop over the decision. "The party has nothing to do with it. It is not involved in this airport exercise," they said.

Party general secretary Digvijay Singh said, "We are also interested in the issue of corruption and black money but hunger strike won't check corruption or help in bringing back black money. He (Baba Ramdev) should agree to the request made by the Prime Minister and other ministers."

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee accompanied by Kapil Sibal, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Subodh Kant Sahay held talks for over two hours at the airport with Ramdev, who arrived by a chartered jet from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday afternoon.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already gone the extra mile to urge Ramdev not to go ahead with his hunger strike, promising him to find a "practical and pragmatic" solution to tackle the issue of corruption.

Singh has written a letter to Ramdev, "welcoming his constructive suggestions to improve governance."


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