Ramdev Draws Crowds To Team Anna Stir
New Delhi: Yoga guru Ramdev Friday lent support to Team Anna’s thinning anti-corruption campaign, but he slammed the team members for attacking President Pranab Mukherjee.
Ramdev, who got thousands of his supporters to join the Team Anna campaign, said: “The president’s is a constitutional post. One should not criticise those who occupy constitutional posts. Even Anna Hazare agrees with this.”
Speaking to reporters at Ramlila ground, before leaving for Jantar Mantar, the yoga guru said: “The person who is sitting at the highest office of constitution, one should not make comment about him… In present circumstances, one should not name Pranab Mukherjee. Whatever is there, can be seen after five years,” he said.
Hazare had congratulated Mukherjee on becoming president and disapproved of criticizing the president, contrary to the strident criticism of Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal who accused Mukherjee as also other ministers of the United Progressive Alliance government of graft.
Ramdev’s presence saw the crowds which had started to fizzle out at Jantar Mantar begin to surge again. The empty areas begin to fill up as Ramdev arrived at around 4 p.m. after inspecting the Ramlila ground – the site for his agitation starting Aug 9.
Ramdev, addressing the crowd at Jantar Mantar, vowed support to Team Anna’s protest action. “We will support whoever fights against corruption. This fight is to protect the country,” Ramdev said.
Before Ramdev arrived at Jantar Mantar, only about 400 people were present at the venue at noon, contrary to the thousands that would turn out at Team Anna’s earlier agitations in Delhi. Ramdev will be starting an indefinite fast against black money Aug 9 at Ramlila Maidan.
Anna Hazare said that the size of the crowd did not matter. “It is not by gathering a crowd that a movement becomes stronger. The success and failure of a movement does not depend on the size of the crowd,” he said at Jantar Mantar.
After targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other ministers over the last two days, Team Anna member and lawyer Prashant Bhushan leveled corruption allegations against union ministers Praful Patel, Farooq Abdullah and Sushil Kumar Shinde, among others. “The corruption charges against (former civil aviation minister) Praful Patel have only been rested to parliamentary committees. Nothing substantial has ever been done,” Bhushan said addressing the crowds at the fast venue.
Bhushan alleged Shipping Minister G.K Vasan was involved in a land leasing scam at Kandla Port in Gujarat. “The land-lease deal expired in 2004, even then Vasan and his aides leased the land at cheap rates. The matter is still pending in government files,” he said.
He also alleged that union minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah was involved in misusing public money during his stint with the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association.
Bhushan, continuing his tirade on ministers, said: “They are not the only ones to have scam charges levelled against them. Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde is also a minister who managed to influence the CBI in spite of his role in the Adarsh land scam. This shows that CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) is also under pressure from influential ministers.”
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