Sonia distances herself from Ramdev crackdown

Pallavi Ghosh | Updated: June 6, 2011, 11:18 AM IST

New Delhi: Who authorised the midnight swoop on Baba Ramdev? Sonia Gandhi sought to distance herself from the midnight operation against Baba Ramdev. Sources say she was upset with the government decision. Is it possible she was not in the know?

The reaction to the crackdown was seen at Congress headquarters on Monday as a rebellious teacher from Rajasthan posed as a reporter and almost hurled a shoe at the Congress spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi.

The Congress party was quick to pass the blame to the RSS. But this was just a small diversion to the embarrassment of a late night swoop on Baba Ramdev and his followers.

Sources say that at a 3-hour meeting at 10 Janpath on Sunday, Sonia questioned the need for the midnight operation.

The meeting was attended by party leaders and senior ministers Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram, AK Antony and Kapil Sibal.

Sources said Sonia Gandhi asked the ministers why was Ramdev allowed to hold the Satyagraha at Ramlila Maidan in the first place when the written permission was not there and why didn't the Government then wait for at least a day before removing Ramdev.

At the Core Committee meeting, Sonia also strongly disapproved of the decision of four ministers and the cabinet secretary going to the airport to talk to Ramdev.

"There are some decisions which party takes and some which government does," said Dwivedi.

But, there are serious doubts over the fact that Sonia Gandhi was kept in dark.
The big questions remain: Who took the decision to send ministers to the airport?

If Sonia insisted on tough talk, then how come party was not in the know?

Whose decision was it to go in for midnight swoop?

"Please ask the Government about the operation, it was their decision," said senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh.

"The administration had to resort to force as a Yoga camp was converted to a protest site. The party is not involved in this," he added.

However, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that there are no cracks in the Congress on Ramdev and the party is united.

"No differences in the party and the Government. Everybody was united on the issue. In such things of course the party and the Government work in coordination," said Sibal.

Meanwhile, Baba Ramdev has held Sonia Gandhi responsible for the crackdown and hit back at her by raising her foreign origin issue.

"Earlier I didn't use to pay attention to the fact that Sonia Gandhi wasn't born in this country. But, last night's incident shows that she does not have any place for the women and children of this nation," said Baba Ramdev.

First Published: June 6, 2011, 11:18 AM IST

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