Baba Ramdev denies rift over Lokpal Bill panel

Baba Ramdev was unhappy with the presence of father son duo of Shanti Bhushan and Prashant on the joint committee that will draft the Lokpal Bill.

Last Updated: Apr 10, 2011, 12:15 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Amid reports that Baba Ramdev was unhappy with the presence of father son duo of Shanti Bhushan and Prashant on the joint committee that will draft the Lokpal Bill, the yoga guru on Saturday, in an exclusive chat with Zee News, denied that he had made the nepotism charge.

Ramdev said there were questions about nepotism in people’s mind, not his, and he had only forwarded this view in an earlier chat with the media.

The yoga guru, who is one of the founders of India Against Corruption that spearheaded this week’s non-violent protests against corruption across the country, said he had no problems with the constitution of the committee which includes five members each from the government as well as civil society.

Noted social activist Anna Hazare, who this week sat on a fast unto death at the capital’s Jantar Mantar until the Central government accepted the demands for a joint committee to draft a stronger Lokpal Bill, is also part of the committee.

Speaking to reporters earlier this morning, Hazare reacted to Baba Ramdev’s purported unhappiness with the composition of the joint committee and appealed to him not to rake up such issues as the movement against corruption is for the betterment of the nation.

Hazare said “the persons included in the panel have been chosen keeping in mind their knowledge of law”. “I would touch his (Baba’s) feet and request him not to make such comments,” Hazare added.

“It is a temporary panel constituted for two months to draft the Bill,” the iconic Gandhian leader said.

Baba Ramdev was reported to have objected to the inclusion of both former law minister Shanti Bhushan and his advocate son Prashant in the joint drafting committee.

"Why is there nepotism in the committee? Why both father and son are accommodated in the committee?" a news agency had quoted the yoga guru as saying.

Ramdev today told Zee News that he had no role to play in the drafting committee.
Hazare and Kejriwal had earlier defended the inclusion of both Shanti Bhushan and Prashant in the drafting committee.

"Nothing wrong in having two members of the same family in the panel. We need experience. We need expertise," Hazare said. "It is a coincidence that they are father and son. But they are experts, they are very experienced and independent lawyers," said Kejriwal.

The agency also quoted Prashant Bhushan as saying, "Personally I wouldn`t like to be in the panel. Ideally, somebody else should be a member... We were involved in drafting of the Lokpal Bill. So, Anna made us members. As of now, I am not withdrawing myself but if it comes to that I am willing to withdraw myself."

Hazare also rejected the idea of holding a special session of Parliament to get the Bill passed. “There’s no need for a special session as it would be a wastage of money,” he said.
Reiterating his earlier remarks, Hazare told reporters that the fight against corruption has just begun and the government has to be continuously pushed forward to get an effective Lokpal Bill passed.

After forcing the government to bow down before people’s power and accept the demands for a stronger Lokpal Bill, Hazare had on Saturday ended his 98-hour-long hunger strike after the government issued a gazette notification to set up a joint committee to draft an effective Lokpal Bill.