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Ramdev crackdown: a strategy or a mistake?

Jun 06, 2011 09:00 AM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: At 11.30 pm on Saturday, Kapil Sibal sent a letter to Ramdev stating the Government's positions on issues raised by him. So why did the government then decide to order the Baba's removal one hour later?

It may seem like a midnight surprise, but government sources say they had it all planned.

At the Cabinet Committee of Political Affairs (CCPA) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week, the Government agreed to talk to Ramdev but with conditions, and preventive detention was an option discussed.

While the Government was criticised for its red carpet welcome for the Baba, the four Union ministers, who went to the airport to receive Ramdev, hoped that they could convince Baba to take off for Haridwar straight from the airport. As it couldn't happen, the Congress ticked off the Government asking it to talk tough.

Government sources give several reasons for a change leading to crack down on Ramdev.

The reasons include -

* If the operation was delayed, cadre could be mobilised, adding to law and order problem

* The hands of RSS would be strengthened and it would be an advantage for BJP

* A daytime raid, they say, was impractical

* The Government couldn't reinforce a perception that it was soft

* It needs to send a message for future that the Government had drawn a line when it comes to pressure from civil society

"When Law and order situation develops what do you do? He said he will ask for 5000 people but get in 50 thousand. Wouldn't people have been inconvenienced? A yoga shivir should not be a political shivir," said Kapil Sibal

Government sources said that in background of frequent pressure from the Hazare group, it was the CCPA's decision to use preventive detention as the last resort. The Government sees the midnight operation as a course correction - to correct the perception that the UPA was become soft kid.