RSS behind Ramdev’s movement: Chidambaram

Home minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday said the Hindu right-wing organisation Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) was behind yoga guru Baba Ramdev, who has launched fast to demand retrieval of rich Indians’ black money stashed in banks abroad.

In an interview to official broadcaster Doordarshan, the home minister said the apex body of the RSS had propped up Ramdev as its patron for an anti-corruption front. “Who is behind Baba Ramdev? We go back to March 2011 at a meeting in Putthur in Karnataka, the Akhil Bhartiya Pratinidhi Sabha, the apex body of RSS, decided to organise support of all individuals and institutions that were ranged in the fight against corruption.” “On April 7, the RSS announced the formation of an anti-corruption front which had Baba Ramdev as its patron,” Chidambaram said.

Even as the country is witnessing a surge in anti-graft movements with social reformer Anna Hazare at the front, the home minister blamed the civil society for undermining parliamentary democracy. “I support civil society speaking up and raising its voice, but I don’t support elected representatives leaving their obligations and responsibilities to civil society representatives,” he said. Chidambaram said that the foundation of the country’s governance was parliamentary democracy.

“I think sections of the media, for reasons which I cannot spell out, are engaged in competitive, populist coverage of these movements. This undermines parliamentary democracy. When someone challenges the finance minister to a debate on television, he misses the fact that debates take place in parliament and voters watch Parliament (proceedings) and exercise their franchise from time to time,” he said. On the post-midnight police crackdown on Ramdev and his followers at Delhi’s Ramlila ground, Chidambaram said he was saddened that one woman was critically wounded.

“I have immense sadness in my heart at the condition of Rajbala,” he said, adding that 39 civilians were injured in the police action. “All but four were discharged. Two of them had fractures and were discharged, one underwent surgery. It’s only Rajbala who has suffered injuries and is critical. I am very sad. We have reached out to the family. I wish to say no more at this stage. I sincerely hope that I get an opportunity to meet the family,” Chidambaram said.

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