WHEN Arvind Kejriwal in an animated speech at Rajghat started to say that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is an honest man, the crowd started to jeer. He waited for a full 45 seconds before he started again, “the Prime Minister is an honest man…” The crowd booed and jeered with even more vehemence. The third time Arvind Kejriwal made up his mind that he is going to complete his statement. Moments later when he mentioned the name of Union Minister for Human Resources Development Kapil Sibal the crowd did a rerun of the earlier play. This time it went out of hands and Anna Hazare had to intervene after Arvind Kejriwal made a vain attempt at talking about how the Union Minister tries to sabotage the civil society movement to bring a strong and uncompromising Lok Pal Bill. So much for the credibility of the government and its leaders whose only argument these days on TV debates is “the Prime Minister is an honest man”.
Only hours earlier on the same day, Baba Ramdev made a spirited speech for which he is known for at his ashram at Haridwar. And he was not mincing any words. He made it clear that the next time we have situation at Ramlila grounds in Delhi where people were protesting peacefully, the powers-that-be will have to think twice before unleashing the brute force of the police on harmless people.
Though there has been so much said and written about Baba Ramdev’s move to launch a self-defence force to counter the mindless attacks by the government on its own people, the fact that over 100 men, women and children have been hospitalised and some of them in a very sensitive medical state in ICU is not lost on people who support Baba Ramdev or Anna Hazare.
After the Saturday’s (June 4, 2011) violent attacks by police on people sleeping at Ramlila grounds and the increasingly disparaging statements from the Union ministers and Congress spokespersons discrediting the civil society movements, the anger in both Anna Hazare as well as Baba Ramdev’s camps has reflected in their no-holds barred statements.
Offence seems to be the best defence of the government which has been caught in multitudes of financial scandals each worth lakhs of crores of rupees. Also, the followers of Baba Ramdev, who did not even make as much noise as the Anna Hazare’s dharnas, are now finding the government’s brazen attempts at curbing their freedom to protest against black money and corruption stifling. And slogans calling Union ministers ‘liars’ and ‘cheats’ have found a resonance with the common people.
First it was Digvijay Singh who had the gall to call Baba Ramdev a ‘cheat’ when the government came to know that the Baba is a tough nut to crack. A government which is used to buying silence finds itself cornered when people like Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare do some straight talking. Baba Ramdev is actually wiser after the event. The government’s troubleshooters were past masters in playing dirty games and sabotage. The Baba was made to go back and forth on almost every demand because of the treachery of the government. Anna Hazare’s team also saw through the gameplan when they were being forced out of the Lok Pal Bill. The fact remains if the government does not yield to popular demands on black money, money stashed away in foreign banks and Lok Pal Bill the civil society will soon start to endorse Baba Ramdev’s idea of taking the battle to the government’s court. Then it would be a point of no return.