Back-channel talks on with Ramdev

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Baba Ramdev
New Delhi, June 4: Back-channel talks are on between the government and Baba Ramdev to resolve the stand-off in the wake of his going ahead with indefinite hunger strike on corruption and other issues.

Though there are no official meetings scheduled between the two sides, sources said "talks are one and it is not necessary to meet for holding a dialogue." They hoped something positive would come out of this exercise.

The government is waiting for an answer from the yoga guru, who has assured two senior ministers that he will discuss the written response of the government to his demands with his associates and get back to them.

Ministers Kapil Sibal and Subodh Kant Sahay had held a marathon meeting for five hours with Ramdev yesterday but failed to persuade him to call off his agitation.

Though there is consensus on most of the issues raised by Baba, the sources said there were some "practical difficulties" in giving any timeframe on issues relating to legislative measures to bring back the black money stashed overseas as demanded by Ramdev.

On the demand of declaring the entire black money as ''national wealth'', there are practical difficulties in doing so as it was someone else's wealth and the best option could be only to tax it or confiscate it. 

Sources said government has already agreed to consider life sentence as the maximum punishment to those convicted of possessing black money. The Baba had demanded punishment of death penalty for offenders.

"All these issues can be resolved in a logical manner and not emotionally," sources said and hoped that Baba will understand these issues.

They also said that government was taking corrective steps to address the issue of black money as it was in national interest and hence responded to the yoga guru's demands.

PTI

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