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Ramdev launches fast, says fight for Lokpal still on

Last updated on: August 9, 2012 13:50 IST

Ramdev launches fast, says fight for Lokpal still on

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Yoga guru Ramdev today launched a three-day fast along with his supporters demanding immediate action to enact a strong Lokpal and steps to bring back black money stashed away in foreign banks failing which he will announce his future strategy.

Returning to Ramlila Maidan in the heart of New Delhi from where he was bundled out in the middle of night in June last year after a police crackdown, the yoga guru claimed his agitation was neither against any individual nor targeted at any political party.

Taking his supporters by surprise, Ramdev announced he would go on a fast for three days over demands that also include an independent Central Bureau of Investigation.

"We will go without food and water for three days. After that, we think about our future strategy," he told his supporters.

Offering to talk to the government on the issues, Ramdev also demanded a change in the process of appointing Election Commissioners, CAG, CVC and the CBI director.

He also shed some light on his association with the erstwhile team led by Anna Hazare, saying he was supportive of the agenda being pursued by the social activist but was not part of the team.

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Image: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev launched his second round of protest against black money at Ramlila Maidan
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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Ramdev launches fast, says fight for Lokpal still on

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"The fight for Lokpal has not ended but we will take it forward. All corrupt people have to be punished," he said and demanded that a strong Lokpal Bill be passed in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.

Ramdev's comments assume significance as they come days after 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.
Ramdev said he has no political agenda and the second phase of his protest will be announced if the government does not agree to his demands on black money, the Lokpal Bill, appointment procedures and making CBI independent.

Referring to Union Minister Harish Rawat's statement that the government was ready to talk to him, he said that he was also open to dialogue with it.

"Somebody in power is saying they are ready to talk to us. I am telling Sonia Gandhi that our doors are also open for dialogue," he said.

Anna Hazare was not there at the fast venue though he had earlier declared that he will join the protest.


Image: Thousands throng Ramilila Maidan to back Ramdev's venue
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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Ramdev launches fast, says fight for Lokpal still on

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"Many have questioned about this andolan (movement). We are with Anna's social agenda but not with the team. We will not cement and trigger controversy. No body from the dais will talk," Ramdev said.

He reached the venue on Thursday morning to a thunderous welcome from his supporters. Before coming to the venue, he visited Rajghat, Mahatma Gandhi's memorial.

Ramdev's previous protest in Ramlila Maidan from June 4, last year ended in a midnight police crackdown on the morning of June six with authorities claiming that he violated the norms agreed upon. He was caught by the police while trying to flee from the venue in a woman's attire.




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