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‘Satyagrahi’ Baba Ramdev

The UPA govt is in a fix as it does not want another ‘Anna Hazare’ like movement.

Ritesh K Srivastava

After the unprecedented success of noted social activist Anna Hazare’s crusade against corruption, acclaimed yoga guru Baba Ramdev is all set to undertake a fast unto death to press the government to bring back black money stashed in foreign banks.

Baba Ramdev’s `Satyagraha Against Corruption` movement is in line with Hazare’s ‘India Against Corruption’, which garnered massive support from the country’s elite and the ordinary, asking the government to pass and enact a strong legislation in this regard.

The yoga exponent’s proposed stir on black money has prompted many to think whether Baba Ramdev is trying to increase his political weight through this movement or is it an attempt to delink himself from Hazare’s Lokpal campaign after he was ignored during the constitution of Lokpal Bill drafting panel?

His detractors think that Ramdev is just another opportunist who is trying to generate people’s support for his movement, similar to Hazare’s campaign, and blackmail the democratically elected Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.

Baba Ramdev is demanding that black money stashed abroad by Indians be brought back and declared a national asset. Ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption and ban on all high-denomination currency notes such as Rs 1,000 and Rs 500.

But whatever one may conjure, Ramdev’s movement has put the UPA government on the backfoot, which does not want another ‘Anna Hazare’ like movement at any cost or any further question mark over its credibility. .

The government has reasons to be worried considering the huge following Ramdev has built up over the years by preaching good health to India’s teeming millions. Moreover, his honest image, especially, his oft-repeated war cry against corruption and the corrupt, and the fact that Ramdev is extremely “TV friendly”, has forced the government to go that extra mile to persuade him against the “Ramlila Maidan plan”.
It’s certainly evident Ramdev’s campaign has been widely received by the countrymen who have registered in large numbers, expressing support to his movement. He is certainly more credible than most politicians of our country, so there are lesser chances of his movement not achieving the same success as that of Hazare’s.

However, there have been murmurs of a rift between the yoga guru and Hazare’s camp after Ramdev went public with the view that people holding the post of Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India should not be brought under Lokpal’s ambit.

Although, he has now taken a complete U-turn on the issue but what he has ended up doing is to present a different view on the Lokpal debate.

Interestingly, Ramdev has invited Anna Hazare, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi and Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde to join his movement but has not invited Lokpal Bill drafting panel members Shanti Bhushan and his son Prashant.
The increasing gap between Hazare and Ramdev’s camp is likely to benefit the UPA government, which differs with the civil rights activists on the scope of the Lokpal Bill.

As the situation stands, Ramdev appears steadfast in his resolve to go on a fast against corruption despite the Centre`s efforts to placate him over his demand for action on black money.
Ramdev is aware that the government of Dr Manmohan Singh is under scanner over corruption allegations, and so it is weak and vulnerable.

The cancer of corruption is slowly eating up our democratic institutions and bringing more disgrace to India as a nation globally. Since people are fed up with corruption, any call from a reputed and honest person, could easily cause discomfort to the government.

But whether Ramdev has the fire and resolve to achieve his goals only time will tell, even as the country gets ready for another anti-corruption jamboree.