Yoga shivir: A much needed shot in the arm
With massive LCD screens, a 30 feet tall water proof tent and tight security the Ramlila Maidan near Daryaganj resembles a lavish durga pooja pandal more than anything else, but it's actually going to be used by yoga guru Baba Ramdev to rally support against corruption with his fast unto death.
The elaborateness of the setup strikes you in the face the moment you step into the Ramlila grounds and one really can't help but think that the arrangements could have been slightly low key especially when one is talking about an issue like corruption. To be very frank I don't think Baba Ramdev is anywhere close to being the ideal anti-corruption crusader.
I am sure the I-T department would love to go through his account books considering he has assets worth hundreds of crores, but one thing he definitely deserves praise for is giving the movement for a strong Lokpal Bill a much needed shot in the arm. Anna Hazare and his team will be probably thanking their stars right now because without Baba's fast their endeavours would have lost steam.
A point that must be kept in mind is that this latest protest couldn't come at a better time. Team Anna and their counterparts in the government have been having major differences over the draft of the Lokpal bill which is supposed to be tabled in a month from now. While unlike Anna, Ramdev doesn't want the PM to be covered by the Lokpal this is perhaps civil society's last chance to make sure that there is a strong Lokpal bill which is also passed by Parliament in the coming monsoon session. Without this yoga shivir the government might have had a chance to arm-twist the civilian members of the joint drafting committee.
But now it seems they have very little choice and with the way they have reacted this time its clear that they are under a lot of pressure. Though I must say it's hilarious to see cabinet ministers like Pranab Mukherjee running behind a baba whose demands are not exactly practical.
Remember he wants death penalty for those stashing away black money abroad, even though this doesn't happen anywhere in the world. Many would say this is a clear political move with the sangh parivar giving tacit support to the protest but I sincerely feel that if this is what it takes to make the government serious about black money frauds then so be it.