NEW DELHI: Yoga guru Ramdev on Thursday began a three-day fast giving a “last warning” to government to get a strong Lokpal enacted and bring back black money stashed abroad for which there was a need for an “honest and courageous” Prime Minister.
Returning to Ramlila Maidan here where he was bundled out in a midnight police crackdown in June last year, he said if the government failed to indicate its course of action on these and other demands he would announce his future strategy on Saturday.
Neither Mr Anna Hazare nor any of his erstwhile team members were present at the protest venue where a few thousands of his supporters gathered to join him in the fast.
Ramdev said he has no political agenda and was not keen on indefinite fast and protests. “There will be no fast-unto-death. There is no indefinite fast. We will go without food and water for three days. I am giving a final warning to the government to take a decision within three days. After three days, let them (government) tell us what they are going to do. If they don’t, then we will announce the next course of action. If they cannot understand the voice of peace, then may be we have to make them listen to the voice of revolution but without violence,” he said.
In the evening winding up the day’s proceedings, he said, if his suggestions on bringing back black money are accepted, then “petrol will be Rs 35 per litre” and there will be all-round fall in prices. “But for this, you need an honest and courageous Prime Minister,” he said and declared that he was not campaigning to become the Prime Minister of the country.
The protest began on a controversial note after a poster depicting Ramdev’s close aide Balakrishna alongside Mahatma Gandhi and other freedom fighters triggered adverse comments from leaders and media following which the yoga guru expressed regret while organisers removed it from the scene.
On his association with Mr Hazare, he said he was supportive of the agenda being pursued by the social activist but was not part of the team. “The fight for Lokpal has not ended but we will take it forward. All corrupt people have to be punished,” he said even as Mr Hazare was not there at the fast venue though he had earlier declared that he will join the protest.
“Many have questioned this ‘andolan’ (movement). We are with Anna’s social agenda but not with the team because it is not there. We will not comment and trigger a controversy. Nobody from the dais will talk about it,” he said congratulating erstwhile Team Anna members, Dr Kiran Bedi and Mr Justice Santosh Hegde for their services to the nation.
Ramdev’s comments assume significance as they come days after Mr Hazare called off his fast and disbanded his team which has decided to take a political plunge. “We are not against any individual or party. Our intention is to make India a great nation. This is not to overthrow someone from power,” he said.
On his controversial sharing of dais with the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, he said he did not go to a function organised by the senior BJP leader. “I was invited by a Jain priest,” he said about the meeting, which was criticised by Team Anna during their protest.