New Delhi, Aug 9 (IBNS): Yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Thursday began a protest camp in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, drawing more than 20,000 people, as he began a hunger strike demanding the repatriation of wealth stashed in tax havens by the rich and tough action against corruption.
Young children waved Indian flags, while people, many of whom had travelled thousands of miles by bus or trains shouted slogans, about 14 months since Ramdev’s dramatic ouster from the spot and police baton-charge in a midnight crackdown.
Ramdev Baba would also fast for next three days as part of the protest against corruption.
"We will go without food and water for three days. After that, we think about our future strategy," he told his supporters.
Addressing a rally, Ramdev said he has no political ambition and agenda and would instead focus on social campaign like the one earlier championed by veteran activist Anna Hazare.
"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.
The impressive turnout at Ramdev’s camp also comes just a week after a hunger strike campaign by Anna Hazare that received a relatively lukewarm response and was seen in the media as a sign of waning public appeal of Hazare’s group nicknamed Team Anna.
The campaign led by Hazare ended on Aug 3, with his key aides deciding to form a political party with the backing of the self-styled Gandhian activist.
Differentiating himself from Hazare’s aides,, Ramdev said that he has no political agenda and will not target any political party.
Ramdev however also championed the Hazare’s cause of a strong Lokpal Bill saying "The fight for Lokpal has not ended but we will take it forward. All corrupt people have to be punished."
He emanded that a strong Lokpal Bill be passed in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.
While batting for a strong anti-corruption Lokpal Bill, he said there is an urgent reform needed to make the bodies like CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General), CVC (Chief Vigilance Commission) and CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) independent of government control.
He said every Indian from the poor to the tribal pay tax directly or indirectly and the tax payers' money is being misused and usurped by the people in power.
Besides his well known campaign on black money, Ramdev also spoke about the loot of national resources and focused on illegal mining.
"Illegal mining is a big issue. There is a large scale loot of national resources," he said, referring to mineral rich states like Odisha and Jharkhand.
Ramdev's show at Ramlila has a gathering far bigger than the last Anna Hazare stir at Jantar Mantar.
Ramdev earlier told in interviews that he would focus more on issues and that included his previous campaign against black money.
"The movement has three issues. Black money, corruption and changing of the corrupt system. And I'm not asking to remove or add people to the existing system," he told CNN IBN channel earlier.
A fast protest at Jantar Mantar here by Anna Hazare and his team last week ended with the announcement of a move to form a political party to take forward the agitation.
However, the government refused to react to the Hazare stir this time and it failed to generate the frenzy of the previous such agitations.
We should support Ramdevji without thinking too much. And, Team Anna also should join with him and vise versa. It will look very strong and effective if all the supporters of Team Anna and Ramdebji gather in any kind of anticorruption movement in future also.