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Ramdev asks PM to act on black money

Ramdev SL 3 6 2012New Delhi, Aug 10 (Agency)

India could have won a gold if the Olympics gave a medal for corruption, yoga guru Baba Ramdev said Friday and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to demonstrate his "political honesty and will" and act on getting back black money stashed abroad.


Addressing thousands of supporters at the Ramlila Maidan here on the penultimate day of his three-day fast against corruption, the yoga guru said, "India could have won gold if there was a competition for corruption in the Olympics", to loud cheers and clapping by his supporters.


Ramdev then told his supporters: "This is not a matter to applaud" and asked all Indians to support his agitation against black money and graft.


Directing his demand to the prime minister, Ramdev said: "Why is the prime minister not acting on the issue of black money? The government should reveal the names of those who have black money stashed abroad… Stop making excuses."


"The prime minister should demonstrate political honesty and will on black money," he added.


Ramdev said the government should at least inform the people by when they would get the black money back.


"If black money is brought back to the country, the issue of price rise will be solved and high taxes will reduce… The Naxal and Maoist problem will also be solved," he said adding that every Indian pays around 30 different types of taxes.


"We will wait till Saturday and then announce our future course of action," Ramdev said, reiterating his statement Thursday that he would give the government three days to act and then decide on the next course of action.


The crowds swelled as the day progressed on day two of the agitation.


Ramdev went to sleep at around 10 p.m. Thursday on the stage itself and woke up at 4 a.m. After freshening up in a makeshift washroom behind the dais, he meditated for an hour, a close aide said.


The aide told IANS "no special arrangements" have been made for the yoga guru.


Ramdev began the day Friday with a yoga camp for his supporters, before addressing them.


The yoga guru has demanded that the government get back black money stashed abroad, as well as a stringent Lokpal bill, an independent Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and a citizen's charter - which are also the demands of the now disbanded Team Anna.


Most men and women at the sprawling ground seemed to be long time followers of Ramdev.


The ground was swarming with thousands of mostly middle aged people, the front rows filled by women, as early as 7 a.m.


Many had spent the night at the ground, having reached it even before Ramdev started his three-day fast Thursday, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Quit India movement.


"Yoga can be learnt even on television. We are here only for the revolution," said Dheer Singh, an Arya Samaj leader from Uttarakhand.


"I am a follower of Baba Ramdev and his yoga but it is his movement that brings me here," said Surendra Agarwal, a 63-year-old resident of Sadar Bazar in Delhi.


A police officer Thursday put the crowds at 50-60,000 - who have come from states around Delhi as well as afar.


And they plan to stay put as long as Ramdev wants them to.


On Friday, Ramdev asked the crowds: "How many of you are willing to be in the agitation for three years?" Thousands of hands went up in response.


The organisers have arranged for vegetarian breakfast, lunch and dinner, given gratis to the protesters.


Hundreds of police and paramilitary personnel, including the Rapid Action Force, have been deployed at the ground in the heart of the capital.