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Baba Ramdev – BJP supporter to Neutral Businessman

Before 2014, Baba Ramdev was venomous about the UPA; he did protest and gave glossy pictures to people about how everything would be prosperous and fine if they are voted out of power. He convinced voters about how common public would benefit with lakhs of rupees in their account, how the black money will flow back to India from foreign banks. However, after 2014, the situation for the common man has worsened. Baba became a successful businessman overnight and then preferred sitting on a wall divided between Congress and BJP so that he can jump any side after the election. Now, he is a corporate executive. Why would he align with BJP which helped him set up billion dollar business! While warning the Modi government that rising fuel prices would cost the government dearly, Baba Ramdev said that he would not campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Ramdev made these remarks while he was speaking on the importance of yoga at an event organised by a media house. While emphasising the importance of yoga, he gave special mention to Rahul and Sonia Gandhi who practiced yoga regularly. Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, known for his close association with the BJP, sprang a surprise on when he said that “he is on friendly terms” with Congress President Rahul Gandhi. Ramdev with time has matured as a politician/businessman. He knew nothing could be achieved by siding one politician or a political party. He had ambitions to become the Finance Minister of the country; Modi did not care about Baba’s sentiments. He is no longer that old baba who used to teach yoga. Now he knows that united opposition might come in power in 2019; so, now he has changed his tone and Gandhis, who were corrupt, as per him in 2014, are on friendly terms with him now.

He took a dig at PM Narendra Modi by terming him as a man in a hurry to be PM and by expressing disappointment over party nominations going to “tainted” candidates. The distrust appears to be mutual, with the yoga entrepreneur’s remarks completing the collapse of what was once seen as coming together of two forces united as much by their commitment to saffron issues as the intense antipathy towards Sonia Gandhi-led Congress. Baba Ramdev’s remarks came months after BJP president Amit Shah met him and sought his support for the next general elections. The BJP president’s meeting was a part of the saffron party’s contact for support campaign. Recently, Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev cleared the air on whether he will campaign for any political party in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2019. In a clear indication that he may not back any political party in 2019 general elections, Ramdev said that he was not bound by political limitations and Mother India is his first priority. If Mother India is his priority and every politician and political party is close to him, then what he did before 2014, what was that? Had anybody paid him to agitate and create anger against the UPA? If the UPA is very friendly to him and Rahul Gandhi is his buddy, then why did he accused Congress of trying to eliminate him on Ramleela ground? Is he speaking the truth now or he was speaking the truth then?

This is the second time when yoga guru has reiterated that he would not campaign for the BJP. Sometime back, Ramdev had categorically said that he would not campaign for the BJP. He told media that he has withdrawn politically. In 2014, Ramdev had openly supported the BJP and its then prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. While the BJP has not gone public with its fresh view about Ramdev, the leadership, according to the sources, is exasperated with him for what is being referred to as a stubborn pitch for tickets for his nominees. Ramdev wants about a score of his nominees to be fielded by the party. These include an influential officer of an investigating agency, which is supposed to be probing the yoga guru’s flourishing business. Ramdev wanted the officer to be fielded from Amroha in UP. BJP’s central election committee instead allotted the seat to former cricketer Chetan Chauhan. The party also turned down his pitch for Nawal Kishore Yadav for Pataliputra seat. Although Nawal Kishore had appeared a shoo-in for the key seat, the party eventually settled for Ram Kripal Yadav when he crossed over from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). However, other candidates of Ramdev remain hopeful. One of those, Chand Maharaj, also a guru, has even started his campaign for Alwar. Ramdev has recommended other gurus as well — Sumedhanand who was seeking the ticket for Sikar and Debvrat Maharaj who has shown interest in Haryana’s Hisar constituency. Ramdev also recommended Karan Singh, who contested the last LS poll on a BSP ticket, for Kairana in western UP. He has staked his claim by impressing upon the party his contribution to saffron causes. Whereas BJP lauded his role in popularising yoga and his drive against black money but said that they can’t sacrifice the party’s interests to appease “someone’s outsize ego”. To which, Ramdev had described BJP ministers as “arrogant” while lauding Rahul for “giving a lifeline to a virtually dead Congress”. The sudden praise for Rahul Gandhi comes two weeks after Ramdev’s company, Patanjali announced to shift its proposed food park outside Uttar Pradesh after not getting the required clearances despite getting a nod from the Centre. Patanjali MD Acharya Balkrishna had then lashed out at the Yogi Adityanath-led government over its indifferent and negative attitude in granting clearance to the Rs 6,000 crore food park, which would be spread over 455 acres of land along the Yamuna Expressway. However, Adityanath went into damage-control mode and directed officials to expedite its opening. While Patanjali’s growth in the FMCG sector has been fast, it has also come under the spotlight for sub-standard products. Brushing aside such allegations, Ramdev said that each product went through thorough checks by more than 300 scientists before being launched in the market. Last year, nearly 40 per cent of Ayurveda products, including items from Patanjali, were found to be of substandard quality by Haridwar’s Ayurveda and Unani Office, a Right to Information (RTI) reply revealed. To cover up all these and to seek some sort of revenge, he further attacked BJP stating people who are making the cow a religious animal are wrong. The cow has no religion. Petrol to people and Congress to Cow, he spoke about all those issues which are either on the hit list or the list of BJP. Let’s see how he deals with his shifting loyalties in 2019.

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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