Karnataka Lokayukt Santosh Hegde has lent his support to the anti-black money campaign launched by Baba Ramdev.
Hegde is among the five leaders of the April agitation to force the government to set up a drafting committee for the Janlokpal corruption ombudsman bill. He is one of the five members representing the movement headed by Anna Hazare.
Drawing a pragmatic line, Hegde pointed out that there was nothing wrong in co-operating with and supporting another agitation to the extent that both share a common goal.
“…the real motive of this fast, which according to Baba Ramdev is mainly to get rid of black money, which is part of fighting corruption.. Janlokpal agitation.. I don’t see anything wrong [in joining him in the agitation,]” he said.
Hegde’s line is truly representative of the strategy adopted by Anna Hazare, the veteran Gandhian who started the mass movement against corruption weeks ago. Hazare has said that he will arrive in Delhi soon and hold talks with the Baba and will take a call on whether or not to join his fast after that.
Another member of the drafting committee, Prashant Bhushan, cautioned about the broader anti-corruption movement being “used” by vested interests. “I am unhappy with the presence of Sadhvi Ritambhara [a rightist Hindu activist]. You cannot prevent anyone from supporting a cause but the platform should not be allowed to be used by communal forces,” he said.
Ramdev had lent his support, and supporters, when Hazare was fasting in Delhi.
While Hazare and company have their support base in the educated middle class, Baba Ramdev draws his from across the social and economic spectrum, including from rural India.
Some who supported Hazare, such as the left-leaning Swami Agnivesh, have expressed reservations about supporting Baba Ramdev — partly because the Baba espouses traditioinal ‘Hindu’ culture and partly because the Baba has already announced grand political plans. The Hazare coalition has tried hard to remain equidistant from all political parties, while Baba’s status as a champion of ‘Hindu’ values has attracted the zealous support of right wing groups.
Baba’s agitation has thrown many middle class supporters of Anna Hazare into confusion as to whether to support the new agitation or not.
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