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Fighting fit?

Ramdev on Tuesday broke his six-day long fast and ended a distinctly anti-Congress protest on the black money issue by calling for the party's defeat in the next general elections. Hindustan Times conducted a poll asking readers if the anti-corruption movement has lost its focus and edge.

delhi Updated: Aug 15, 2012 02:39 IST
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Accusing Ramdev of fighting a "political battle" in the name of campaigning against black money, the Congress said that his real intentions have been exposed.

Congress said the government had taken several steps to combat black money. Referring to the visit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari to the venue of Baba Ramdev's protest, Dwivedi said the "mask" had come off.

"The real face (of Ramdev) has been exposed to the people," he said.

"The fight is political. As far as the issue of black money is concerned, the government has brought out a white paper. Steps have been taken, (more) will be taken," he said.

"We have a proper action... It makes no sense to say that government is not speaking about the steps it is taking to eradicate corruption and blackmoney," information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni told reporters outside Parliament House.

Hindustan Times conducted a poll asking readers if the anti-corruption movement has lost its focus and edge.

Nearly 65.3% of the voters agreed that the focus of the movement is not lost.

On the other hand 33.57% of the voters replied in the negative and a meagre 1.14% remained undecided.

Ramdev using agitation as license
Slamming Ramdev for using his agitation as a "license" to take on those in authority, government on Tuesday said he should respect Parliament, Constitution and those occupying key posts.

"Ramdev has lost his identity as a fighter. He has now succumbed to the pressure of BJP and also the NDA partners. There is no doubt about it. To that extent he has completely lost his credibility," Union minister M Veerappa Moily told reporters outside Parliament House. Ramdev arrestedvideo-icon

The corporate affairs minister lamented the manner in which Ramdev lashed out at the government.

Baba Ramdev, escorted by bodyguards and police, leaves Ambedkar stadium in New Delhi. HT/Raj K Raj

"This is not worth talking about. The manner in which he used very loose language demonstrates the fact that he has taken this thing as a license to speak against, abuse people in authority. He does not understand that there are certain Constitutional posts which he has to acknowledge," Moily said.

Ramdev gave the call, "Congress hatao, desh bachao (remove Congress, save the country". Claiming the support of around 400 MPs, he said the government would lose its majority if SP and BSP withdraw support.

Ramdev ends anti-graft hunger strike
Ramdev on Tuesday broke his six-day fast and a distinctly anti-Congress protest on the black money issue by calling for defeat of the Congress in the next elections.

Ramdev broke his fast with lime juice given to him by two children.

"I am ending the fast but the agitation will go on till our demands are met," Ramdev told a huge gathering at the Ambedkar Stadium in central Delhi where he and his supporters spent the night after police detained them on Monday evening while marching to Parliament.

Will uproot corrupt politician: Ramdevvideo-icon
Baba Ramdev is offered fruit juice to end his hunger strike in New Delhi. HT

Charging the UPA government with failing to bring back black money, he said the government would have lost if there was any voting on the issue in Parliament.

Ramdev and his supporters chose to stay on at the stadium even after police revoked detention and permitted them to leave on Monday night. After breaking his fast on Tuesday, Ramdev flew back to Haridwar where he runs a yoga centre. Ramdev ends fastvideo-icon

Hundreds of Baba Ramdev supporters on Tuesday vowed to kickstart a campaign against the Congress as they left Delhi for their homes after spending a day in detention at the Ambedkar Stadium.

Some said they would be visiting local colleges while others would tour villages in their respective states urging people not to vote for the Congress.

Ram Jethmalani attacks Rahul Gandhi
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi was amongst those who had black money abroad, veteran lawyer and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ram Jethmalani said on Tuesday.

Sharing the dais with yoga guru Baba Ramdev at Ambedkar Stadium, Jethmalani said: "Rahul Gandhi's name is there in the list of those whose money is stashed abroad. The Congress party wants to hide the name of its leaders in the list."

Baba Ramdev is seen with Ram Jethmalani at Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi. HT/Raj K Raj

Gadkari, Sharad Yadav join Ramdev

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Nitin Gadkari and Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav on Monday joined yoga guru Baba Ramdev at the Ramlila Maidan.

Appearing along with NDA convenor Sharad Yadav at the Ramlila Maidan protest venue, Gadkari told Ramdev that the BJP would stand "fully behind him" in his agitation demanding bringing back black money stashed away in foreign banks and that the party was raising the issue in Parliament.

Baba Ramdev addresses supporters from the roof of a vehicle at the end of a rally in New Delhi. AFP

"There is no political agenda to this agitation. This agitation should not be seen from political prism. 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 in his address.

Alleging that CBI has become "Congress Investigation Bureau", Gadkari claimed that the investigative agency was the "biggest strength" of the Government which is using it to black mail people like Ramdev.

"We have not seen it once. We have seen it many times that CBI is misused by the government. They use it to blackmail people. They are trying to harass people like Ramdev and his supporters," he said.

The BJP chief also wanted to know why the government was "reluctant" in naming the people who have stashed black money in foreign shores.

Kejriwal now supports Ramdev!
Ramdev got surprise support of erstwhile Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal who urged people to back the yoga guru in his protest but warned him against political parties "which are neck-deep in corruption".

None of the erstwhile Team Anna members barring Kiran Bedi went to Ramlila Maidan to attend the protest as a section in Hazare camp was against any truck with Ramdev. Team Anna to launch political partyvideo-icon

Hazare also gave Ramdev show a miss though he had publicly assured him that he will attend the protest.

"Some people are projecting it as Swami Ramdev versus Team Anna issue. It is not that. It is corruption vs people of India. People should stand united.

"We support Swami Ramdev's agitation and issues raised by him. Urge people to support his cause. But we caution him against parties who are expressing their support. They are neck deep in corruption and their support is mere opportunism," Kejriwal tweeted this morning.

Anna Hazare with team members Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal and Gopal Rai during the 6th day of Team Anna's agitation against corruption at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. PTI

He also alleged that the government stands exposed in their inaction against corruption and reluctance to talk to people of this country.

Kejriwal's remarks came just hours ahead of Ramdev ending his six-day fast on blackmoney issue.

Team Anna had attacked Ramdev earlier in August during their protest after the yoga guru shared dais with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

Earlier, when asked whether Team Anna members would go to Ramdev's protests, Kejriwal had said they had not received any invitation.

Former Army chief general VK Singh, who shared stage with Anna Hazare and yoga guru Ramdev in their anti-graft stir, exhorted the country's youth to play an active role in bringing about "a change" in the nation. Watch video

Addressing the members of the Rajput community at a function in Jaipur, Singh said there is a need for everyone to analyse where the nation stands after 65 years of independence.

Anna Hazare, flanked by team member Arvind Kejriwal and former Army chief VK Singh gesture after Hazare concluded his fast in New Delhi on August 3, 2012. AFP

"Looking at the present situation of the country, it is our duty to unite and do something to bring about a change in the country and the onus for this lies on the youth," Singh said.

"The youth should come forward and play an active role for the growth of the country and for uplifting the nation," he added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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First Published: Aug 14, 2012 21:35 IST