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Ramdev vs govt standoff continues. Both say trust betrayed

Last updated on: June 4, 2011 23:43 IST

Ramdev vs govt standoff continues. Both say trust betrayed

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The government and Baba Ramdev were on Friday locked in a standoff over his indefinite fast against black money leading to a blame game between the two sides. The yoga guru was in a tight corner after government released a letter from his aide that he would call off the agitation by mid-day.

Though the two sides exchanged barbs, government kept its channel of communication open with Ramdev, who accused it of "betrayal and cheating", by sending a fresh letter giving an assurance on his demands. It expressed the hopes he will call off the fast once he gets the assurance.

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Image: Baba Ramdev started his indefinite fast against corruption on Saturday
Photographs: Reuters
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Govt has hououred all its commitment: Sibal

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Union Minister Kapil Sibal's release of the letter by Acharya Balkrishan, Ramdev's key aide, led to attack by the yoga guru that government was indulging in "betrayal and cheating" and that he would now only go by any word from Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, whom he still respects.

The dramatic development came as Ramdev first announced that he would be giving the "good news" of ending the agitation but quickly went back on it after Sibal made public the letter at a press conference also attended by another Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahay.

In a carrot-and-stick message, Sibal said that the government has honoured all its commitments and that Ramdev had a misapprehension when he questioned the setting up of a committee on making a law to deal with black money menace.


Image: HRD Minister Kapil Sibal

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'Black money will be declared a national asset'

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Ruling out issuing an ordinance on the issue, the minister, who held negotiations with Ramdev on Friday, made a veiled threat that the government that has "always reached out can also rein in".

"If we are accommodative, we can also be firm," he said adding that negotiations cannot be taken as a sign of weakness.

After the two sides indulged in attacks, Sahay -- one of the negotiators with the baba -- announced a letter was being sent to Ramdev giving assurance that a law will be made on bringing back black money and declaring it as a national asset. It will also provide for exemplary punishment for those found guilty.

"One per cent of commitment was remaining and we did not want the talks to breakdown. Therefore, we are fulfilling the commitment. We hope Ramdev will fulfill his part of commitment of ending the agitation once he gets the written assurance," he said.



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