India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday appealed to Yoga guru Baba Ramdev to drop his plan to go on fast from June 4 on the issue of black money. “We hope Baba Ramdev will not take recourse to agitation. We will make another effort to persuade him not to undertake it,” Singh said. He also said that corruption is a big problem and the government is committed to tackling it using all resources at its disposal. Corruption is not a divisive issue. We hope all concerned will cooperate. On inclusion of PM in the ambit of Lok Pal, Singh said it is not a question of my personal view. I don’t want to comment.
Earlier on Tuesday, the government’s efforts to persuade Baba Ramdev to call off his fast unto death seemed to be yielding no results. “These are complex issues. Talks will have to continue. Constitutional form has to be given to a strategy to tackle corruption. I will go on fast on June 4,” Baba Ramdev said.
Manmohan Singh had on Monday convened a meeting to discuss the steps to be taken to prevent Baba Ramdev from going on hunger strike.
Exactly a week after Ramdev announced that he was going on fast, the government set up a committee to examine ways to strengthen laws to curb the generation of black money and its transfer to overseas locations and to bring these back into India’s legitimate financial system. Ramdev’s campaign, satyagraha against corruption, will be held at Ramlila Maidan to force the government to act on corruption-related issues. He plans to continue his fast till the government accepts his three demands — recover black money stashed away in foreign banks by Indian politicians and businessmen and declare it as public property, ban high-denomination currency notes in the country as it leads to high-level corruption and award death sentence to the corrupt.