Pranab Mukherjee calls his meeting with Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev in 2011 misjudgement, here is why

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New Delhi | Updated: October 16, 2017 7:22:53 AM

Former President Pranab Mukherjee has said that he should not have met Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev in June 2011 to dissuade him from launching a fast. It was Congress-led UPA-II government's decision to two of its senior cabinet ministers, Mukherjee and Kapil Sibal, to talk to Ramdev in Delhi airport

 Pranab Mukherjee, baba ramdev, pranab mukherjee book, anna hazare, lokpal movement, UPA-II government, Kapil Sibal, Baba Ramdev ram lila maidan protests, lokpal bill, Anna Hazare’s agitation, Ramdev protest, Pranab Mukherjee PM, UPA politics, Sonia GandhiFormer President Pranab Mukherjee has said that he should not have met Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev in June 2011 to dissuade him from launching a fast. It was Congress-led UPA-II government?s decision to two of its senior cabinet ministers, Mukherjee and Kapil Sibal, to talk to Ramdev in Delhi airport. (Representative image by PTI)

Former President Pranab Mukherjee has said that he should not have met Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev in June 2011 to dissuade him from launching a fast. It was Congress-led UPA-II government’s decision to send two of its senior cabinet ministers, Mukherjee and Kapil Sibal, to talk to Ramdev in Delhi airport, according to Indian Express report. The move was then heavily criticised. Now Mukherjee has termed it as ‘misjudgement’ on his part. Since the UPA government was already facing ’embarrassment’ due to Anna Hazare’s agitation, they wanted to ‘nip it (Ramdev’s protest) in the bud’, according to report.

“I think myself and Kapil Sibal went there (to meet Ramdev)… senior cabinet ministers went. The meeting was not that… it was simply political reasons. I thought that we are already having an agitation from Anna Hazare. That agitation is causing some problem and embarrassment to the government… If it (Ramdev’s fast) could be nipped in the bud,” Mukherjee told Indian Express.

“So I had some contact with some people. I am not mentioning his name. He advised me that if you talk to him (Ramdev), and if you request him before he comes and meets his followers in Delhi, then I have talked to him, he will listen to you,” recalled Mukherjee. But I told him that my problem is I am not fluent in Hindi, so how could I talk to him. Then he told me that you take somebody who will interpret for you. That was the reason why I took Kapil Sibal with me… But nonetheless, later on I found that it was my misjudgement. I should not have done it. I told them, and I have no hesitation to tell it right now, that sometimes we make mistakes,” he said.

Mukherjee was then the Finance Minister. He and Sibal, then HRD Minister, met Ramdev, who flew into the capital in a chartered jet from Ujjain, on June 1 and discussed issues raised by him, including bringing back black money stashed abroad. But eventually the talks had failed and the yoga guru decided to go ahead with his protest at Ramlila Maidan from June 4. He began his fast but by midnight, the security forces swooped down at the maidan. Ramdev was later sent back to Haridwar, where he sat on a hunger strike.

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