New Delhi: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Tuesday announced a 'pause' in his movement to bring back black money stashed abroad, calling off his protest fast, but said he was not leaving defeated and the movement would continue.
After the Delhi Police made it clear to the yoga guru that he and his supporters would have to vacate the Ambedkar Stadium - where they have been staying put since Monday evening following their detention - by 2 pm, Ramdev decided to end his fast.
The deadline was given in view of the Independence Day celebrations tomorrow at the nearby Red Fort.
Addressing his supporters at the Stadium, Ramdev said, “We are not leaving defeated. We are leaving victorious as all parties have come in support of us.”
Calling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “a robot”, Ramdev said that “we are ashamed of him”.
“The PM should give answer to the nation on black money and corruption in his Independence Day speech” tomorrow, he said, adding the PM should respect his role or quit.
“We will continue to fight for our rights, for bringing back black money,” the yoga guru told his supporters.
Ramdev said the Congress was unwilling to label black money as national property as it is itself corrupt. “The Congress has been defamed by its own deeds, not by us,” he said.
Ramdev said “if we wanted we could have stopped the PM from unfurling the national flag at Red Fort but we would not do any such thing as we believe in non-violence.”
Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi, Ramdev said “we don’t do drama by going to poor people’s huts, we have taken birth there”.
He also hit out at P Chidambaram, saying Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde was not as cruel as his predecessor.
Saying people would teach a lesson to the Congress, Ramdev called on his supporters to ensure no Congress MP or MLA wins in the next elections.
Announcing a new slogan Congress hatao, desh bachchao, jo kala dhan wapas laye, usko satta mein lao, Ramdev said he would announce before the 2014 polls which party to support.
Following his speech, Ramdev broke his fast by drinking lemonade offered to him by two kids.
While the Delhi Police had told Ramdev last evening itself that he and his supporters were free to go, the latter decided to stay put at the stadium here following their detention.
Addressing the crowd, a Delhi Police official had said today that the stadium had to be vacated by 2 pm and sanitised in view of the Independence Day celebrations tomorrow. The entire area around the Red Fort will be sanitised latest by this evening, police sources said.
Ramdev, who was detained while leading a big march to Parliament, had said earlier this morning that he would call off his fast at 11 am. Ramdev said he would proceed to Haridwar in Uttarakhand after ending his fast.
The yoga guru’s announcement came as the government talked tough saying an unverified mob could not stay close to the Red Fort, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would unfurl the national flag tomorrow on the occasion of the country’s 66th Independence Day.
Union Home Secretary RK Singh said Ramdev and his supporters would have to vacate the stadium today. Also, a meeting was held at the Home Ministry to discuss the situation.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde too briefed the PM on the issue.
Yesterday, before beginning the march Ramdev had indicated plans to oppose the Congress in the 2014 General Elections.
"I had earlier said that I will end my fast in Jail. This stadium is a makeshift jail. I had said will call off my fast only after my supporters get food and water. Late in the night, they were provided with food and water," Ramdev said.
"They have appealed to me to end the fast at 11:00 am," Ramdev said, addressing his supporters this morning.
Ramdev had held an early morning strategy session with his close aides to fine tune the future course of his protest.
His campaign got a big fillip yesterday with various political parties, including many supporting the government, coming out in open support.
First Published: Tuesday, August 14, 2012, 09:06