In view of the agitation of Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev, the Central government seems to be tightening its belt against corruption and black money, but neither Anna nor Baba nor common people look satisfied with the steps taken by the government in this regard. Hence Baba Ramdev has continued his stir and Anna Hazare has also stuck to his ultimatum saying that if Lokpal Bill is not passed till August 15, he will again start his agitation. Now the Central government is sending signal that it will not give in to their words. After the investigation of Baba Ramdev’s trust, the Centre has indicated that it will take tough stand against Anna Hazare and his supporters. The Central government is being roped in to take steps to end the stir of Baba Ramdev, however it does not take any interest. Undoubtedly, the Indian Constitution does not allow the Civil Society to armtwist the government to make any law as per its whim, rather this is the work of the Parliament. Though Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare know it, they just want to create pressure on the Central government. Both of them had a notion that Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh would again give any assurance and it could be difficult for them to back out from their words to save their credibility like previous incident.

When Anna Hazare had launched his fast on Jantar Mantar in the last April, Sonia Gandhi too supported him to some extent. Now on the contrary she is silent and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also shown his offensive posture. According to the Prime Minister, the midnight police action against Ramdev and his supporters at Ramlila Maidan was compulsory, when the Central government was slammed by the Opposition and common people owing to this reason. Nevertheless justifying the police action by the Centre has cost it dearly, but the government has stuck to its gun. It is wise for the government to drop its tough posture and ponder why did Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev feel to launch the stir. At the time when the agitation of Anna Hazare got over, the Central government was criticized vehemently by one and all, but later people were satisfied with a move that the government and Civil Society would together draft the Lokpal Bill.

When Baba Ramdev decided to launch agitation against black money, the Central government sent four senior ministers at the airport to appease him. Had the government thought, it could have had a talk with him without kow-towing him. Later, the government sent cops in midnight to shoo away Ramdev and his supporters from Ramlila ground. However, the stir by Ramdev was not appreciated by and large. Barring his supporters and followers most of the people see him as yoga guru only. They are raising question why has a yoga guru launched stir against corruption. Some of them also like to know about the source of his colossal amount of money. While the credibility of Ramdev is at stake, the image of Gandhian and social activist Anna Hazare is comparatively clean. Owing to a simple life-style, Anna’s agitation drew huge mass of all sections of society including a large number of intelligentsia. The supporters of Baba Ramdev also include intellectual elite but most of them are his followers being influenced by his particular life-style. As he is a hermit, so he is supported with like-minded saints. The BJP and the RSS are also backing him. In the face of Baba’s link with the RSS and the BJP, the government is making a propaganda that the RSS is behind his movement. The Congress is of the view that Baba is serving the agenda of both the RSS and the BJP through his agitation. Ashok Singhal and Sushama Swaraj went to Haridwar to meet him, so it clearly indicates BJP-RSS support to his movement. It is also unambiguous that Baba Ramdev wants to put the Congress in the dock through his anti-corruption movement. However, the Congress is not the only party which is involved in corruption or conniving the graft and malpractices. The BJP is equally accused with allegations of corruption. The BJP is supporting Baba Ramdev overtly, and it is indirectly backing Anna Hazare. As the movement of Anna Hazare is apolitical hence he has a strong credibility. The Central government can overcome Baba Ramdev’s pressure but it may not take on the movement of Anna Hazare.

The pressure being created on the government by Anna Hazare is not uncalled for. It is the result of Anna’s movement that the government is looking alert against corruption. There could be a debate how much it is significant to give an ultimatum for passing the Lokpal Bill by August 15, and it cannot be denied that there is a need to pile up pressure on the government to make a fair Lokpal. If the Centre ignores Anna and adversely takes strong action against Baba Ramdev, it will have wide ramifications. In this context, the government should avoid showing an ego-packed action. The Centre should learn that the manner Ramdev and his followers were chased away from the Ramlila ground was a shameful act. The strategists of the government are committing mistakes if they are suggesting to take strong action against Civil Society and ignore Ramdev. This will send a wrong message to the people of India. The prejudiced attitude of the Centre will allow the Opposition cash in on the situation. Moreover, the despotic attitude of the government may plunge it in deep trouble. The Centre must know that corruption is a giant problem for the country. The monsoon session is nearing. The government has to clear many pending works of the Parliament in this session. It will be better if a government talk with Anna goes on so that people will perceive the Centre’s seriousness about reining in corruption.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on June12, 2011 translated by the English Editorial. The author is Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)