Despite a round of talks with senior United Progressive Alliance ministers, yoga guru Baba Ramdev rejected pleas to call off his planned hunger strike, asserting that he will begin his agitation against corruption and black money from Saturday.
‘The agitation from June 4 will spread from Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan to 624 districts in the country and, on the first day itself, more than one crore people will fast and participate in the satyagraha,’ Ramdev told reporters at Delhi airport.He was speaking after four central ministers, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, rushed to the airport to hold talks with the yoga guru.Ramdev said the first round of talks with the government was ‘positive’, adding that more rounds will take place.‘The talks will continue and the first round of talks has been positive and we have agreed on some issues. But till the time there is complete agreement on all issues, this satyagraha will continue,’ he said.
Ramdev said that the movement was not to ‘bully anybody’. ‘But, our issues are in public and national interest and our fight is not against any person or party. Our motive is not to criticise anyone’.He said their ‘battle was to change the system (which is) 64 years old’. ‘It is very tough but we will do it because the brave efforts of crores of people are supporting this movement,’ said Ramdev.The yoga guru said that the main issue was black money, followed by corruption. Apart from a strong and competent Lokpal, we have also talked about a public service delivery guarantee act which should apply to all services provided by the central and state governments, he said.
He urged the government to declare black money stashed abroad as ‘national asset’. ‘There should be a fast track court in every state and verdicts should be delivered within a year and there should be a clause of providing death penalty to the guilty,’ suggested Ramdev.The yoga guru added that the government should inspect the record of visits made by Indian nationals to tax havens abroad. ‘I have proposed that the list of people who have travelled to tax haven countries in the last 20 years should be investigated physically,’ said Ramdev.‘The immigration department can be asked to provide lists of people travelling to the tax haven countries in the last 20 years,’ said Ramdev.He said that while names of Indians travelling to these countries for genuine reasons could be removed from the list, politicians, bureaucrats and certain businessmen who have been going to these countries should be investigated.
Earlier, Sibal said Ramdev raised ‘very important’ issues during the talks.‘We (UPA ministers) met Baba Ramdev just after 1 p.m… the conversation was carried on for almost two and a half hours. During the conversation, Swami Ramdevji raised a broad range of very important and significant national issues,’ Sibal said.We listened to him. We also prima facie responded to him and we will meet each other and have another dialogue in the next couple of days,’ he said.‘I am sure that as we are a responsive government, we will take (up) all those issues which were raised and this is all I have to say as of now,’ Sibal added.