Ramdev eviction: Advani and co pull an all-nighter in protest at Rajghat

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New Delhi:  LK Advani and co spent the night at Delhi's Rajghat in protest against the government's controversial handling of Baba Ramdev and his fast against corruption.

Mr Advani's daughter was seen giving the 84-year-old leader a glass of milk at Rajghat, home of Mahatma Gandhi's memorial.

BJP's Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, turned it into a festive atmosphere, and was seen dancing with complete abandon while the others egged her on.

There was a small altercation between police and the BJP workers when the latter was not allowed to extend their pandal.

BJP is observing today as the black day, they plan on wearing black bands.

According to sources, the leaders will not travel to Haridwar and will camp in Delhi to show their solidarity with Baba.

The main Opposition party has eagerly risen to the occasion created by the government late last night. Policemen grabbed Baba Ramdev from his camp at Ramlila Maidan where he had launched an indefinite hunger strike against corruption. 65,000 followers of the yoga teacher had gathered in solidarity with his cause. They were tear-gassed and lathicharged. Seventy one people were injured and moved to hospital four patients are reported to be in critical condition. The Baba was evicted from Delhi yesterday and deposited at his headquarters in Uttarakhand.

The BJP has compared the incident to the atrocities committed by the British at Jallianwala Bagh. BJP President Nitin Gadkari said, "Home Minister P Chidamabaram has replaced General Dyer, who had massacred peaceful agitators in Jallianwala Bagh during the freedom struggle."

Speaking to NDTV earlier in the day, Mr Advani said the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi owe the country an explanation. He also urged President Pratibha Patil to call an emergency session of Parliament to discuss the Ramdev crisis. The President, Mr Advani opined, should not be a "passive observer".

While other BJP leaders like Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi have launched a full frontal assault on the government, what's likely to give the Congress sleepless nights is that even parties who usually come to its rescue like the Samajwadi Party have been scathing in their assessment. "We will not ask for the Prime Minister's resignation, the public would," said Mulayam Singh Yadav who heads the party.

Others like the CPM who have been staunch critics of Baba Ramdev have also spoken out against "the murder of democracy."

The government has justified the action taken against Baba Ramdev. He had permission for a yoga camp of 5000 people, not a political demonstration, said some ministers. Digvijaya Singh was typically blunt in his evaluation of the Baba, describing him as "a thug who is misleading the nation."

Those remarks by the Congress general secretary were referred to by the Opposition in its criticism of the government.

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