New Delhi: Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev on Monday adopted a vigorous anti-Congress stand in his protest against blackmoney and was arrested during a march to Parliament but late in the night he refused to quit the stadium from where he and his few thousand supporters were released.
Giving a slogan 'Congress hatao, desh bachao' (Remove Congress, Save the Country), Ramdev ended his five-day protest with a call to his supporters to march to Parliament for a dharna demanding immediate steps to bring back blackmoney stashed abroad.
His protest fast was marked by dilly-dallying over the last three days as he deferred announcing his strategy in the face of central government's total indifference to his agitation against corruption.
Unlike in June last year when he was bundled out of Ramlila Maidan in a midnight police crackdown that attracted adverse comments of Supreme Court, police virtually adopted a kid glove approach this time in a bid to avoid any fracas.
Police took him and his supporters to Ambedkar stadium by evening and by night announced that they are free to go home.
But Ramdev was in a different mood and stayed put along with his supporters saying they would not disperse unless food and water were provided to them.
As the night progressed, anxious police officials led by Additional Commissioner Devesh Srivastava sought to convince him that the stadium was in the vicinity of Red Fort, where Independence Day celebrations would be held on Wednesday morning, and the assembly at the stadium would be a security threat.
Ramdev agreed that Independence Day had their sanctity and that he would consider the police appeal to them not to prolong the agitation till August 15.
"But the question of leaving the stadium tonight does not arise," he declared rejecting the police appeal for a quick vacation of the place.
He said they were prepared to go without food and water and other basic facilities the whole night.
"Terrorists are given biriyani and patriots are denied even water," Ramdev said alluding to crores of rupees being spent on Mumbai attack convict Ajmal Kasab.
Earlier speaking exclusively to Zeenews Baba Ramdev said, his ‘andolan’ is against corruption.
“Will go wherever police takes me,” Ramdev added.
“Andolan is not over I will come back,” Ramdev said.
Hours before the march began, BJP president Nitin Gadkari, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav and leaders from TDP and Akali Dal joined Ramdev on the stage and supported his movement.
Addressing the gathering, Gadkari told Ramdev that he was "not alone" in his fight and that his party had disrupted Parliament today on the issue of black money stashed away in foreign shores.
Meanwhile, thousands of supporters of Ramdev blocked arterial roads in central Delhi on Monday to stop the police from taking him to a temporary jail.
Ramdev and his supporters’ courted arrest after the police prevented them for continuing with their protest march.
As per reports, Ramdev may be looking at prolonging the impasse to further corner the central government on the issue.
Sporting a black bandana, Ramdev said, “We had to go till Parliament. All these protestors were marching peacefully; we never intend to resort to violence. Police is not allowing us to move forward but we are not protesting…we are being stopped at the behest of central government.”
The march was stopped at the Ranjit Singh flyover in central Delhi where the police had put up barricades to stop the march to Parliament 2.5 kilometeres away.
Earlier, he told his supporters, “The time to sit is over, now is the time to awake and stand up. As the next step we will march to the Parliament and sit on a dharna there, we will not lay siege to the Parliament but protest outside the Parliament.” The Parliament’s Monsoon Session is currently underway.
Openly attacking the Congress, Ramdev said the party has completely failed to curb corruption and has damaged the reputation of the country and called for the social and political boycott.
Ramdev said that the battle has not ended but has started out on a bigger mission. “In the next Lok Sabha elections, this movement will put in all force to stop any corrupt from entering Parliament.
Prior to the march to Parliament, Ramdev fasted for the last four days at Ramlila Maidan demanding that government bring a strong Lokpal bill, ensure transparency in naming heads of the CBI and the EC and make efforts to bring back black money stashed in foreign banks.
With PTI inputs
First Published: Monday, August 13, 2012, 09:28