VK Singh now battles with Baba Ramdev
New Delhi: Former Army chief General VK Singh on Sunday came out in support of yoga guru Baba Ramdev, who has already warned of a "big revolution" if Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh did not meet his demands for announcing immediate steps to bring back black money, enact a strong Lokpal and measures to end corruption.
General (retired) Singh, who had locked horns with the government on the age issue prior to his retirement is one of the eminent personalities, has joined Baba Ramdev on the stage and appears to be supporting his key demands.
It may be recalled here that the former army chief had shared the dais with Team Anna members during their indefinite fast at the Jantar Mantar here earlier this month.
Comparing the present situation in the country to what that existed in 1975, former army chief General (retired) Singh had earlier on August 3 said ''rampant corruption'' is the country's biggest problem.
He accused the government of not following the Directive Principles of State Policy as written in the Constitution.
Addressing a gathering at the Jantar Mantar here, Singh said: "When I evaluate the country's present condition, it is similar to that of 1975. Jayaprakash Narayan had then said ''Singhaasan Chodo Janta Aati Hai''. He felt then that corruption is the root of all problems."
General (retired) Singh then pointed out that the situation in the country is the same today.
"We are facing problems of inflation and economic slowdown. It appears that there is no governance in the country. The only alternative we have is the one offered by Anna Hazare. Every time you fight the powers that be, they will try to dent the image of the movement," he said.
General (retired) Singh had also congratulated Team Anna on their decision to start a political movement, saying it was vital to got involved in the big fight for changing the country''s electoral politics.
Kiran Bedi, a key member of the now disbanded Team Anna, also joined the yoga guru on the stage earlier today.
Baba Ramdev, whose fast entered the fourth day today with the government continuing to ignore the protest, has written a letter to the Prime Minister, asking that his demands be accepted and suitable measures taken to implement them.
"Till a decision on our demands are not taken, I am ready to continue by fast. The fast will not end today. When it will end, I will tell you tomorrow," Baba Ramdev told his supporters at the Ram Lila Maidan here.
"We wrote to you (Prime Minister) earlier regarding the issue. We have now sent you a fresh letter. We will wait till this evening. If there is no decisive action, there will be a big revolution from tomorrow," he added.
Baba Ramdev, who also extended an invitation to all parties to join his protest if they agreed with his demands, also sought to attack the ruling Congress Party, saying though he was not singling out the party on the issue of black money, it had ruled the country for most of the time after Independence and, hence, it had to take responsibility.
"We are not here to tarnish anybody. But what is the danger that Congress perceives in bringing back black money or declaring it national asset, if they do not own it? We had given you time till yesterday. Your time is over and now our innings start," he said.
Baba Ramdev further asked the Prime Minister to show political honesty and political will on the matter.
"When UPA came to power, the Prime Minister promised that black money will be brought back in 100 days. Many such 100 days have gone by but black money is still stashed in tax havens abroad," Baba Ramdev claimed.
"You are being hailed as an honest person. We don''t doubt your personal honesty. But you will have to show political honesty and political duty. If you do not do your duty, then there will be a question mark on your political honesty," he said.
The second round of Ramdev's protest has witnessed an expansion of his agenda from black money to Lokpal Bill, making CBI independent and a more transparent procedure for appointing Election Commissioners, CAG, CVC and Director CBI.
Baba Ramdev's last outing at the Ramlila Maidan, in June last year, saw a midnight police crackdown with authorities claiming that he violated norms agreed upon. He was caught by police, while trying to flee from the protesting venue in a woman's attire.