Jaunpur: Renowned spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar embarked on a three-day anti-corruption yatra from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh on Monday.
He alleged that an effort was being made to give a political colour to his 'yatra' and said it was not at
On Lokpal he said, "On the issue of Lokpal Bill, my complete support is with Team Anna. Whosoever launches a campaign to root out
corruption, I am with him."
"I will speak against corruption and wherever I will go in the state, I will ask people to take a resolve neither to give nor accept bribe," he added.
The spiritual guru said that today politics and governance was being considered as a business.
On deteriorating morals in the political class, Ravi Shankar’s take was, “Politicians are not respected today as much as they used to be.”
He lamented that corruption had increased in every field and asked the people to keep an eye on the corrupt people.
Extending his support to anti-graft crusaders, Sri Sri said that he along with Ramdev and Anna were one on the issue of graft.
Fully backing Anna Hazare in his fight against corruption, he said that Anna is “committed, honest and ideal for the youth”. Refusing to believe that Team Anna members had compromised on their ideals, he said, “I don’t agree that they are corrupt.”
Taking a dig at Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, Sri Sri said curtly, “If lies are repeated, it does not become the truth.”
Refuting charges that his organisation was one of rich
people, he said it was running 185 schools across the country
free of cost and one lakh instructors were teaching people
'pranayama' and spreading the message of harmony in villages.
The spiritual guru confirmed that he will go to Amethi on November 10. Amethi is the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.
As per reports, Ravi Shankar will also visit Sultanpur, Mirzapur, Sonebhadra, Chandauli and Kanpur. Importantly, most of the districts to be covered by Sri Sri are known to be Congress strongholds.
Sri Sri’s anti-corruption yatra comes at a crucial time as Uttar Pradesh is scheduled to go to polls early next year and political parties are considering the elections as the decider before the big fight – Lok Sabha polls in 2014.
Although stakes are high for regional parties like the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party, they are even higher for Congress as Rahul Gandhi has been devoting all his energies in revitalising the party in the state. He would also embark on a yatra from November 14.
Importantly, party’s outspoken general secretary, Digvijay Singh, had recently accused Sri Sri of being part of the BJP’s plan to tarnish the UPA government.
Singh had alleged that while Ramdev and Anna Hazare were "Plan A and B" of the RSS and BJP, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was "Plan C".
Last week, Ravi Shankar had administered an oath to nearly one lakh people, asking them not to give or take bribe.
The BJP had also slammed Digvijay Singh for attacking Sri Sri, saying he was suffering from "foot-in-mouth syndrome"
Although it would be the first time that the Bangalore-based guru would be personally starting a movement against corruption, he had lent support to the movements initiated by Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare.
Interestingly, Team Anna had also conducted yatras in the state and threatened to intensify its agitation against Congress if the Lokpal Bill is not passed in the Winter Session of Parliament.
BJP’s veteran LK Advani’s anti-corruption ‘Jan Chetna’ yatra had also crossed through Uttar Pradesh; it is currently in Gujarat.
Other senior party leaders from the state like Rajnath Singh and Kalraj Mishra have also announced their plans to start yatras ahead of the polls.
Not to be left behind, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s son Akhilesh Yadav is also on a state-wide yatra to highlight what his party terms as the misrule of Mayawati.
With PTI inputs
First Published: Monday, November 07, 2011, 08:29