Why is Team Anna dubbed as villain, asks Ramdev

Baba Ramdev on Sunday asked the government to bring back black money stashed abroad and pitched for a strong Lokpal Bill to check corruption across the country.

Updated: Jun 03, 2012, 14:26 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Observing a day-long fast with anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare at Jantar Mantar here, yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Sunday asked the government to bring back black money stashed abroad and pitched for a strong Lokpal Bill to check corruption across the country.

Addressing the crowd gathered at Jantar Mantar, the yoga guru said that the people were not paid to attend the protest, but they are here to support the cause and eradicate corruption.

Hitting out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Ramdev said though he is personally clean but he also needs to have a clean Cabinet.

"The prime minister said that `I am honest`, but the country does not see you as an individual," said Ramdev.

"The nation respects you for being an honest individual, but you should also be honest politically. The country sees you as the person holding the highest constitutional post. Your personal honesty is not enough... Keep your cabinet honest," he added.

Recalling Singh`s statement that hunger and malnutirtion are a `national shame`, he said mere statements will not solve the problem.

Ramdev threatened the government of more protests if action is not taken against black money.

"We need to bring back black money. I appeal to the people of the country to join this fight. We are intensifying this fight. From today, we are intensifying our protest to bring back black money stashed abroad and want all of the countrymen to be part of the fight to finish by August," he said before the start of the fast.

He claimed that FDI in India worth Rs 20 lakh crore holds the "key" to people involved in stashing black money abroad. "If the government names the actual owners of the FDI, the puzzle to black money will be solved," he said.

Ramdev termed their anti-corruption agitation as "the second struggle for independence".

Starting his speech with slogans like "Vande Mataram", "Bharat Mata ki Jai", he said common people are above elected representatives.

"The elected representatives say they are above all, but the constitution of India says people are above all," he said.

Recalling the police crackdown on his supporters last year, Ramdev claimed it was "Ravan lila" played out at the Ramlila grounds.

"Even Mahatma Gandhi had said that India needs its own laws. But we still have British era laws like the one on land acquisition and the Police Act. We need swadeshi laws and remove the archaic laws," he said.

The yoga guru wondered why Team Anna and his followers are dubbed as "villains" when they speak against corruption and Lokpal as a mechanism to deal with it when Mahatma Gandhi was most vocal against graft.

He claimed efforts by the government to tarnish the image of Team Anna members and his aides had failed to break the movement against corruption.

"Whenever we talk of corruption, those in the power and leaders of the ruling party maintain that laws are not made on the streets...We are not against anyone...There is no family feud. All we need is a corruption-free India," he said.

Prior to holding the fast at Jantar Mantar, Ramdev and Hazare visited Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, to offer prayers to the Father of the Nation.

Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Kiran Bedi are also participating in the protest.

Police have made elaborate arrangements for the sit-in at Jantar Mantar. Besides Delhi Police personnel, 20 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed and CCTV cameras installed to maintain security.

With PTI inputs