Congress says "mask is off" as BJP leaders share dais

The breather to the UPA Government after Team Anna called off its fast against corruption seemed short-lived, as the baton passed on to yoga guru Ramdev.

On Monday, as the three-day fast by Ramdev ended, opposition NDA leaders Nitin Gadkari and Sharad Yadav shared the dais with him pledging their support for bringing black money back to the country. Later, the yoga guru started his marched to Parliament with his supporters.

But, his call found echo in Parliament, with disruption in both Houses as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members demanded that black money stashed in banks abroad be brought back. Interestingly, UPA backers, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati also demanded that all political parties should be taken on board to form a strategy to bring back black money.

Meanwhile, there was high drama on Delhi’s streets as Ramdev began his march toward Parliament, a high-security area. He was arrested, but refused to go to a makeshift jail in the outskirts of the city.

He travelled on the top of a bus in protest, forcing the Delhi police to lodge him in Ambedkar Stadium in central Delhi instead. With his followers trailing him, there was complete chaos on the roads. However, he was let off later.

Following UPA Government’s strategy of not engaging with Team Anna and Ramdev, the yoga guru had said he would not rest till his voice his heard. “The Government has become completely deaf. We have to make them hear us. Now our protest will be outside Parliament,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Congress alleged that Ramdev and Team Anna were hand in glove with the BJP-led NDA and the masks had now fallen with their open support to the yoga guru’s agitation on black money.

Asked why Congress had not reacted to Ramdev’s call on black money, Congress media department chief, Janardhan Dwivedi, said, “It is true that we did not say anything as we cannot speak their language or behave like them. And now it is out in the open how politics is being done in a different guise.”

Referring to Team Anna, he said, “What kind of a fight and whose fight this is, is becoming clear. Their other partners, who had announced the formation of a party, have said in their private conversations that they will not contest in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. Which face is this?”

aditi.n@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 13, 2012)
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