BJP goes hammer and tongs at Manmohan, Sonia
New Delhi/Lucknow, June 5 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday launched a scathing attack on the government for cracking down on yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s hunger strike, blaming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for the violence and injuries to people.
From Nitin Gadkari to L.K. Advani to Narendra Modi, party leaders across the country condemned the action against Ramdev in Delhi – he was evicted from Ramlila ground early Sunday and forcibly sent to Hardwar – and said the BJP would go on a nationwide ‘satyagraha’.
‘The crackdown came on the orders of the prime minister and Sonia Gandhi. We strongly condemn it… The prime minister (Manmohan Singh) and Sonia Gandhi must apologise to the people,’ the BJP president told reporters in Lucknow.
Ramdev’s hunger strike against corruption and black money stashed abroad ended abruptly just after Saturday midnight as hundreds of policemen swooped down on the Ramlila ground, removing him and dispersing thousands of his restive supporters with tear gas and batons.
As police asked the protesters to clear the area, some of Ramdev supporters armed themselves with iron rods and fire extinguishers while some threw stones at police.
The BJP called the government offensive a shameful chapter in Indian democracy.
The party plans to stage a 24-hour satyagraha from 7 p.m. Sunday at Rajghat with top leaders like Advani, Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj and others staging a protest, he said.
Opposition leader in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj also held Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi responsible for the police action.
‘The decision was taken by them at the behest of (Home Minister P.) Chidambaram and (Telecom Minister Kapil) Sibal,’ she said.
Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely said it was a ‘shameful chapter in Indian democracy. Everyone has the right to protest peacefully.’
Advani went farther.
The former deputy prime minister comapred the event to the Emergency rule of Indira Gandhi in 1975-77 when democratic rights were stifled.
‘They owe an apology not only to Baba Ramdev but to the whole country for having allowed their police behave as they did last evening.’
In Ahmedabad, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said the ‘nation will not forgive this’ and called it a ‘black day’.
‘Prime Minister Manmohansinghji, the nation is not ready to believe now that you are not involved in this. These atrocities are going on under your rule. Police is under Manmohan Singh government in Delhi, not under Sheila Dikshit. This atrocity has been done by Delhi Sultanate,’ he said.