Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nervous UPA gives Ramdev VIP treatment

Updated Jun 01, 2011 at 10:11pm IST

New Delhi: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev appears to have the central government literally at his feet. A visit to Ramdev by four ministers, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrashekhar at the airport revealed the nervousness of the government over Ramdev's fast.

To make matters more difficult for the government, the RSS too is now backing Ramdev.

After an over two-hour long meeting with Ramdev, the government came out without getting what it wanted - Ramdev calling off his fast.

"Satyagraha from June 4 will continue as per plans. Talks have been constructive. There has been consensus on some issues and talks will continue in the future," Ramdev said after the meeting.

Sibal said that more talks would be held with the yoga guru.
"Ramdev raised serious issues impacting the country. The government will take these seriously forward," he said.

The government was proactive this time because it didn't want to be caught on a backfoot as during Hazare times.

Hazare's fast had led to a loss of face for the government, but Ramdev is seen as a greater threat because of his proximity to the RSS. The government is worried that if Ramdev's fast takes off, it may attract strong political support from the right wing.

RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav made it clear that the RSS is with Ramdev.

The Prime Minister also stepped in despite the fact that government sources say that many of many demands of the yoga guru are unreasonable and even alarming. Clearly, the government is caught in a bind as it cannot afford to ignore the demands of the civil society, yet cannot be seen as weak kneed.

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