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Baba Ramdev gives UPA a sleepless summer

Govt,particularly Sibal,did come under fire from some leaders for 'mishandling' of Baba’s fast.

The night-long operation that evicted Baba Ramdev from the city this morning was meant to signal the UPA’s tough resolve. But coming after days of unprecedented surrender by the UPA — which even announced its commitment to a new law hours before it sent the police in — it opened the government to criticism from across the political spectrum.

And prompted soul-searching within the party over the way ahead. For the record,though,the Congress referred to Baba as the “nothing (man),” who had been propped up by “(communal) forces” out to destabilise the government (read the BJP and the Sangh Parivar). This brave face did little to hide the unease within as the party braced for a fresh political crisis.

At a meeting of AICC office-bearers and senior ministers called by party president Sonia Gandhi this evening,the government,particularly Union Minister Kapil Sibal,did come under fire from some leaders for what they saw as “mishandling” of Baba Ramdev’s fast.

These leaders were learnt to have said that there was no need for four ministers to go to the airport to talk to the yoga guru. They also complained of being kept in the dark about the police action. The meeting was also attended by Pranab Mukherjee,A K Antony,P Chidambaram,and Kapil Sibal.

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The party was divided over the police action. Party general secretary Digvijaya Singh called him a “thug” and said: “There are certain laws and regulations in the country,you cannot allow people like Ramdev to run riot in the capital city. He was trying to incite people in the Ramlila Maidan.” And added that the party had little to do with the police action.

Hours later,the editor of party mouthpiece Congress Sandesh,Anil Shastri tweeted: “It is Manmohan Singh government’s,not a party decision. What happened last night at Ramlila Grounds was unfortunate and avoidable.” On Saturday,he had tweeted: “Indiraji or Rajivji would not have sent their ministers to airport to placate a Baba arriving in a private jet.”

After the meeting at 10,Janpath,Congress media department chairman Janardan Dwivedi said that the party felt that “certain forces do not have any faith in democratic and Constitutional system of the country. Defeated in the election,they are trying to look for other means”. But he had no answer for why the government rolled out the red carpet for this “nothing” man.

First published on: 06-06-2011 at 02:03:01 am
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