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Baba ends fast; Cong calls him fraud
Published on 13 Jun. 2011 12:15 AM IST
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Yoga guru Baba Ramdev Sunday finally ended his nine-day fast against corruption and vowed to pursue his campaign. But the Congress still denounced him as a “fake baba”. Within hours of Ramdev sipping fruit juice at a hospital here on the frantic appeals of spiritual leaders like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Congress general secretary B.K. Hariprasad dubbed him a fraud.
“He is a ‘dhongi (fake) baba’. He should tell people from where he got his Rs.1,100 crore,” Hariprasad said in Bangalore, referring to the financial empires Ramdev reportedly presides over.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Art of Living founder who had been talking to Ramdev for some days, was among those who played a key role in persuading the Haridwar-based yoga guru to give up his fast.
“Baba Ramdev has ended his fast. He has taken (fruit) juice,” he said after meeting him for a third time. He said the hunger strike ended in the presence of religious and spiritual leaders.
The 46-year-old Ramdev’s trusted aide, Acharaya Balakrishna, said that though he was ending his fast Ramdev would continue with his drive against mounting corruption and black money.
“I take this resolution to lead this ‘satyagraha’ till the last breath of my life,” Balakrishna quoted Ramdev as saying.
In signs that the government was beginning to get tired of the anti-corruption crusaders, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee alleged in Kolkata that civil society activists were undermining democratic institutions.
While some saffron-clad Hindu religious leaders vowed to join hands in the anti-corruption campaign, Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy took pot shots at Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Describing the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government as “monstrous”, Swamy said that Ramdev’s fast was “successful”. “The fight against corruption will continue.” With Ramdev back at his ashram in Haridwar, government and Congress leaders denounced him without relent. He was linked with the RSS and BJP.
With the Congress taking a vocally anti-Ramdev stand from the time he was forced out of Delhi by police after midnight June 4, Balakrishna sought to underline that the anti-corruption campaign was not “against any party or person in particular”.
After Ramdev ended his fast, Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad attacked the BJP.
He said the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) “must be sad and wondering why Baba did not perish as they would have gained huge political mileage out of the issue”.
Pranab attacks Anna, Ramdev, BJP
Launching an attack on social activist Anna Hazare and yoga guru Baba Ramdev for their anti-graft campaigns, union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Sunday accused a section of the civil society of trying to weaken the country’s democratic institutions and hit out at the BJP for trying to gain political mileage out of it. The constitution has given the power to legislate only to parliament and the state assemblies. If 5,000 or 6,000 people dictate from outside, what parliament ought to do, this will weaken democracy,” Mukherjee said at a press conference in Kolkata.
Hitting out at BJP for trying to gain mileage from the civil society protests, he said the party was rejected by the electorate in the recent elections in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, but was now trying to take advantage of the situation arising out of the fasts by Ramdev and Anna Hazare. He said the RSS was supporting Ramdev’s campaign to “settle scores”.

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