M A I N   N E W S

Cong launches its own anti-graft campaign
Pranab slams Hazare, Ramdev for undermining Constitution, democracy
Tribune News Service & PTI

The Constitution has given the power to legislate only to Parliament and the state Assemblies. If 5,000 or 6,000 people dictate from outside what the Parliament ought to do, this will weaken democracy

— Pranab Mukherjee, Union Minister

Kolkata, June 12
Senior Congress leader and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today hit out at Anna Hazare and Ramdev over the civil society’s anti-corruption movement, accusing them of undermining democratic institutions and did not spare the BJP either.

Mukherjee, while announcing Congress’ plans to launch a nationwide anti-corruption campaign took on the BJP saying it was backing Hazare and Ramdev to gain support of people after its debacle in the recent Assembly polls and accused the party of providing “logistical support” to their agitations and resorting to “unconstitutional practice”.

“The Constitution has given the power to legislate only to Parliament and the state Assemblies. If 5,000 or 6,000 people dictate from outside what the Parliament ought to do, this will weaken democracy,” he told a press conference. The campaign is seen as a bid by the Congress to counter the movement by Hazare and Ramdev.

In hard-hitting remarks targeting the BJP, Mukherjee said, “When the parties are rejected by the people and if they want to resort to unconstitutional practice it is totally unacceptable. They are providing logistic support to all those agitations.” He, however, did not name the party.

“In a democratic system, in a democratic society, everybody has a right to agitate on certain issues which he feels right or wrong....Those who want to dismantle the process of Constitution, the Congress will fight against them,” he said.

Mukherjee released a booklet on the Congress’ stand on the Lokpal Bill vis-à-vis the Centre’s initiatives in detecting the black money in the country and abroad. “The Congress never made any compromise on the corruption issue in the past and also would not do the same in the future,” said the veteran Congress leader. He also ruled out acceding to Hazare’s demand for videography of the drafting process of the Lokpal Bill, saying this was not possible in view of the fact that the drafting committee members will express their views “freely”. Their views, however, would be available on audio-recording, he said. Referring to Hazare’s August 15 deadline for the passage of theBill, Mukherjee said: “We have suggested that the Bill be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session. But who can say when the House will pass it?.” He said the audio-recording of every meeting of the drafting committee was available on the website of the Department of Personnel. Asked why the government had earlier held talks with Hazare and Ramdev, he said, “We gave them a chance, because if you do not talk to them, you will be accused of arrogance. Now that you have talked, it is said that you are weak.”




Ramdev breaks 9-day fast

Dehradun: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev today ended his nine-day fast against corruption and black money heeding the appeals of various spiritual and religious leaders, including Sri Sri Ravishankar. Ramdev took fruit juice offered jointly by Sri Sri Ravishankar and Morari Bapu, a Ramkatha exponent, at Jollygrant Hospital, here. Later, Sri Sri Ravishankar announced to the media that Ramdev has ended his fast.

Doctors said Ramdev’s health was stable and he would be discharged from the hospital in two-three days. In a written statement, issued shortly after breaking his fast, Ramdev said his crusade against corruption would continue.

Earlier in the day, Punjab CM Prakash Singh Badal, accompanied by INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala, reached Jollygrant Hospital and enquired about the health of Ramdev. Later, talking to mediapersons, Badal said Ramdev’s crusade against corruption was not his individual fight but nation’s struggle against corruption and black money. Janata Party President Subramanium Swamy expressed his solidarity with Ramdev’s anti-corruption protest. — Jotirmay Thapliyal

Politics of fasting

I am very happy that this 'nautanki (drama)' has now come to an end. The government has accepted most of his demands, so there is no need to talk

— Digvijay Singh, Cong

The party has a “sense of satisfaction” at Ramdev's decision to break fast. The government's inaction to bring back Indian blackmoney stashed abroad is "unacceptable

— Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP





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