Thursday, November 24, 2011
Yoga Guru Threats Indian PM To Re-launch His Anti-Corruption Compaign Again
A celebrity Indian yoga guru with a huge public following on Wednesday warned he might re-launch his corruption campaign against the government in a further headache for premier Manmohan Singh. Swami Ramdev, a bearded hardliner conservative known for his yoga moves that include a trademark "stomach roll", drew thousands to a huge protest camp in New Delhi in June that was eventually violently dispersed by police. In an seven-page open letter to Prime Minister Singh, Ramdev called on the scandal-hit government to pass a "strong" anti-graft law and work harder to repatriate illicit funds stashed by Indians overseas.
The usually bare-chested and eccentric television star, who heads a yoga empire than spans the world, also called for tax reforms including across-the-board elimination of domestic taxes. "We shall be compelled to launch nation-wide protests if the government does not take significant steps on these three issues during parliament's (current) winter session," the guru wrote.
Ramdev heaped severe pressure on the government during a summer of protests that also saw veteran campaigner Anna Hazare hold a 12-day hunger strike against the government, an action that captured the public imagination.
Corruption has crept up the agenda in fast-developing India after a string of scandals, notably a telecommunication license scam that is thought to have cost the country up to $39 billion and has seen a former minister arrested.