Baba’s four days - from govt red carpet to police crackdown

Baba’s four days - from govt red carpet to police crackdown

New Delhi: From virtually rolling out the red carpet by the government when he arrived by a private jet to bundling him back in an aircraft to Dehra Dun, the four-day stay of Baba Ramdev in New Delhi was a study in contrast.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee led three other senior ministerial colleagues to meet Ramdev at the airport on 1 June, apparently eager to strike a deal to avert his hunger strike at the Ramlila Maidan from 4 June.

In fact, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government wanted to nip the protest on the issue of corruption and black money in the bud in view of the political fallout of Anna Hazare’s four-day fast on the Lokpal Bill in April.

Government wanted to a repeat of ‘Jantar Mantar’ at the Ramlila Maidan and despite much criticism it faced for sending four senior ministers to the airport, it left no stone unturned to placate the yoga guru.

Though the venue of talks had later shifted to the posh Claridges Hotel, the government found the yoga guru difficult to handle.

The midnight crackdown was the result of the failure of the Baba to go by the book with Union minister Kapil Sibal, who tried to broker a deal with him, accusing him of not keeping his word of not going ahead with the fast.

AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, a known critic of Ramdev, put it very hard, accusing him of ‘striking a deal with the government at Claridges but going ahead with inciting the people at the Ramlila Maidan’.

“He has been meted out the treatment which is meted out to a fraud," Singh remarked as police detained Ramdev and later bundled him in a special plane to Haridwar.