Government to hold talks with Baba Ramdev today

Baba Ramdev has decided to go on hunger strike from Saturday in New Delhi to put pressure on the government to rid the society of corruption.

New Delhi: The government said on Thursday it will hold another round of talks with yoga guru Baba Ramdev Friday to dissuade him from going on an indefinite fast against corruption, as the top leadership of the Congress, led by party president Sonia Gandhi, fully backed the move.

"The next talks will be held on Friday", Parliamentary Affaris Minister PK Bansal told reporters after he and two other ministers - Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay - had special meeting with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on how to negotiate with Ramdev.

"Talking to someone is not sign of weakness," Bansal added. Bansal, alongwith Mukherjee, Sibal and Sahay had held talks with Ramdev at Delhi airport on Wedesday but could not dissuade him from going on fast from Saturday against corruption and to bring back black money stashed by Indians in foreign tax havens.

Earlier, the Congress core group, which included Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, met here.

The meeting decided to dispel all impressions that there were differences between the government and the party over the strategy to deal with Ramdev`s agitation, sources said.

The meeting at Manmohan Singh`s 7 Race Course Road residence was also attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram and other leaders.

Later, the ministers engaging Ramdev - Sibal and Bansal - met Mukherjee, sources said.

The meeting was of the view that efforts should be made to avoid a confrontation with Ramdev over his proposed fast.

The core group also discussed the fallout of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) starting a preliminary probe against Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran over corruption charges during his tenure as the communications minister 2004-2007.

The party will wait for the legal moves to be initiated against Maran, sources said. It will also consider the DMK`s moves before any decision is taken on Maran, they added.

Meanwhile, Maran told reporters in Chennai that the allegations against him were "baseless and were part of a conspiracy".


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