Senior Indian ministers woo yoga guru to call off anti-corruption hunger strike

08:31, June 02, 2011      

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Senior Indian ministers on Wednesday received yoga guru Baba Ramdev at the airport in the national capital in an attempt to woo him to call off his plan to go on an indefinite hunger strike against corruption from June 4.

Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay were present at the airport to receive the yoga exponent who flew to the Indian capital from central state of Madhya Pradesh.

"Later, the four Ministers held a meeting with Baba Ramdev at the airport's Terminal 1," official sources said pleading anonymity.

The yoga guru insists he is firm on going ahead with his indefinite fast against corruption in the national capital although Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday appealed to him to call off his proposed fast.

Baba Ramdev Tuesday said that he will go ahead with his call for hunger strike against corruption.

"My hunger strike will go ahead. There is no question of calling off the protest plan till my demands are met and till talks reach a satisfactory conclusion," Baba Ramdev said in the central Indian city Bhopal.

The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs met in New Delhi to discuss the matter. The government, which faced a difficult situation created by Gandhian Anna Hazare's fast-unto-death against corruption last month, does not want recurrence of such a situation.

The two-hour meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was believed to have deliberated on ways that could be adopted to deal with the matter.

The Cabinet has also decided to set up a fresh panel to draw an estimate of the black money parked in Swiss Banks.

Baba Ramdev has demanded that the government should bring back black money stashed in tax havens abroad.

Over 3.2 million netizens are believed to have already registered online for Baba Ramdev's anti-corruption campaign.

The Gandhian activist Hazare made a nationwide campaign against corruption in April by going on a hunger strike which drew widespread support from the country.

The Indian government has been haunted by a series of corruption cases ranging from the Commonwealth Games last year to a 2G spectrum scam which has downed a government ministers and several local officials in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Source: Xinhua
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