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Congress ups the ante against Ramdev, Hazare

Last updated on: June 8, 2011 19:30 IST

'Ramdev has exposed his true colours'

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The Congress on Wednesday said yoga guru Baba Ramdev's call for an armed rebellion is a serious issue and hoped that the government will take appropriate action to uphold the Constitution and maintain law and order.

Home Minister P Chidambaram when asked about Ramdev's call, said, "By making that statement, he has exposed his true colours and true intentions. Let him do so and the law will deal with that..You have to observe some discipline."

Ramdev's statement to give arms training to 11,000 young men and women to fight against corruption was "against Constitution and against the lawful elected government", Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said.

"We would like to know is it a plan to start an armed rebellion against Centre?" she asked.

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Image: Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said that law will take its course on Baba Ramdev

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'Is BJP also a party to the plan of an armed struggle?'

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Taking exception to senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj meeting Ramdev in Haridwar on Wednesday, Natarajan asked whether BJP was also a party to the plan to start an 'armed struggle.'

"Is it correct for the Leader of Opposition to meet Ramdev in Hardiwar when he has called for a war against the government? It is for the BJP to answer whether they are supporting (the plan) and what was the LoP doing there," she said.

On whether Ramdev's statement amounted to sedition and if he should be put behind bars, Natarajan said whatever the yoga guru has said was "completely against rule of law and the Constitution."


Image: Baba Ramdev addresses supporters in Haridwar on Wednesday
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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'There were recent attempts to subvert the Constitution'

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"His remarks were unconstitutional and illegal. Whatever action is taken, it is for the Government to decide and it should take appropriate action," she said.

To a question what the Congress expects from the government, she said the Home Minister was aware of the action advised under the law and to maintain law and order and prevent communal polarisation.

Natarajan said there were attempts in the past weeks to subvert the Constitution, polity and democracy by communal forces who want to polarise the society.


Image: Ramdev's supporters scatter after teargas canisters were fired by the police in Ramlila Ground in New Delhi
Photographs: Reuters
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'Team Anna can't be alternate force to lawmaking'

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Meanwhile, on a day when Anna Hazare sat on a fast protesting the crackdown on Ramdev's protest, Congress virtually declared redundancy of the joint committee to draft a strong Lokpal bill.

Natarajan said civil society representatives "could not be the alternate sources" for lawmaking including the key legislation.

"There is a constitutional scheme of things needed to be adhered to including taking the views of the Parliament while deciding on the legislation. Whatever they say could be suggestions for draft but it can't be the legislation. This is not a banana republic. We are working under the constitution of India," she said.


Image: Social activist Anna Hazare clasps his hands together as he greets supporters after arriving for his hunger strike at Rajghat in New Delhi on Wednesday
Photographs: Reuters
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'It's not a second struggle for freedom'

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The Congress spokesperson side-stepped questions whether the prime minister should be under the proposed Lokpal bill, noting that the Constitution review committee under Justice M M Venkatachaliah had expressed itself against it.

The remarks of Natarajan came a day after Hazare and other representatives of the civil society boycotted a scheduled meeting but made it clear that they would participate in future meetings.

Natarajan dismissed as "unacceptable" Hazare's statement that what he was fighting the "second freedom struggle".


Image: A supporter dressed as Mahatma Gandhi listens to Anna Hazare speaking during his hunger strike at Rajghat in New Delhi on Wednesday
Photographs: Reuters
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