'The government has tried to cheat us'
Accusing the government of cheating civil right activists on the issue of Lokpal Bill, Anna Hazare on Thursday extended his support to yoga guru Ramdev's fast against corruption.
The Gandhian said that the government lacks the intention to root out corruption from the system.
"I will join Baba Ramdev on June 5. The fight is against corruption. The government has tried to cheat us. The government had assured us that they would look into our demand," he said, adding that he would hold discussions with the yoga guru on the way forward.
He said the government has "cheated" civil right activists on the issue of Lokpal Bill and people have realised the betrayal by the government.
Image: Anna Hazare
'We will fight together against corruption'
"I will support Baba Ramdev so that the government does not do what it did when we were fighting. We will fight together against corruption," he said, adding that "henceforth, we will not be content with oral assurances on the issue of weeding out corruption".
His remarks came a day after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, accompanied by senior ministers Kapil Sibal, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Subodh Kant Sahay, held talks with Ramdev on Wednesday to persuade him to give up his indefinite fast on corruption.
The government's efforts to prevent the repeat of a situation that evolved when Hazare-led civil society mounted a campaign in April appeared to have not yielded immediate fruits as Ramdev insisted on "action" rather than "assurances" on the issue of bringing back black money stashed abroad.
Image: A poster supporting Anna Hazare's fast
'Now the government is running'
Hazare also made it clear that everybody should come under the ambit of the Lokpal Bill. He said the government was getting its act together now only after Ramdev made it clear that he would start his agitation from June 4.
"For so many days we have been demanding (the immediate implementation of the Lokpal Bill). Why did the government not listen to us? Now the government is running just because the time has to come to sit on fast," he said.
"Baba Ramdev has been raising the issue of black money since so many days. Why did the government not think of doing something on the issue? People have now come to know what the intentions of the government are," he said.
Hazare said the fight against corruption will continue till their demands are met. "Now no more hollow assurances and oral promises. What we want is action and the fight against corruption will continue throughout the country till we get what we want," he said.
Image: A rally against corruption
Congress to discuss Ramdev's fast
Meanwhile, the Congress top brass, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi, are expected to deliberate on Thursday on the situation arising out of yoga guru Ramdev's plans to go on a hunger strike.
A meeting of the Congress Core Group headed by Gandhi is scheduled on Thursday evening in the backdrop of apparent differences between the party and the government over the way the issue needed to be tackled.
The group, which generally meets on Friday is meeting a day ahead, reflecting the concern in the party and the government over Ramdev's plans. Top Congress leaders and senior ministers, including Pranab Mukherjee, A K Antony, P Chidambaram and Political Secertary to Congress chief Ahmed Patel are part of the group which decides on major policy issues.
Image: A yoga camp held by Baba Ramdev
Congress distances itself from Centre's move
A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs was held a few days back to discuss Ramdev's fast. Dr Singh had also written a letter to the yoga guru asking him not to go ahead with the fast, promising him that the government will find a "practical and pragmatic" solution to tackle the issue of corruption.
The Congress has distanced itself from the government's unprecedented step of sending four senior ministers to receive Ramdev at the airport in a bid to persuade him not to go ahead with the protest, saying it was "unnecessary" and the party has "nothing to do" with it.
"The party is not at all related to this entire exercise from here to the airport,"said top sources in Congress.
Image: Baba Ramdev