New yoga guru threat to Indian PM

NEW DELHI - 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.

By (AFP)

Published: Wed 23 Nov 2011, 6:42 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:23 AM

Swami Ramdev, a bearded hardline 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 telecom licence scam that is thought to have cost the country up to $39 billion and has seen a former minister arrested.

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