Indians have witnessed, with a painful heart, a year of scams and scandals. Now, they are witnessing something unparallel in the history unfolding across the seas. With the Arab world shaken to their core following the uprising and revolutions against corrupt regimes and autocrats, Indians too are wondering will something similar happen in the subcontinent.
At such a crucial juncture, Zee News’ Swati Chaturvedi talks to the firebrand yoga teacher-cum-politician Baba Ramdev, who has launched a crusade against the corrupt.
Swati: Welcome to Kahiye Janab. In Egypt, people have come out on the streets against corruption. In India, the government promptly sends us notices if we fail to pay our taxes, but why is the same government reluctant to even name the tax evaders who have crores of black money (stashed abroad)?
Baba Ramdev: Three years back, Hasan Ali got a notice and was asked to pay up Rs 50,000 crores for evading taxes. But now, he is living a luxurious life. However, he is not the only person (who has black money). The government is lying about thousands of such persons. About Rs 300 lakh crore worth of black money is stashed abroad. The government has lied before the Supreme Court and the country’s citizens. Some say about half of India’s GDP is transferred out of the country every year in the form of black money. This is a big issue. The Centre is in a denial mode. The government confesses that it is a big issue but is doing nothing in this regard.
Swati: Corruption in India is at its peak, but the PM only says that the situation is sad. What do you have to say on this?
Baba Ramdev: Today, India is ranked as the 4th largest economy in the world. It could become the No. 1 economy if we can root out corruption from our country.
The Centre is not honest about tackling corruption. The party, which is ruling at the Centre, has been in power intermittently for about 40 years, and it is in their rule that such a huge amount of black money was sent out of the country.
Swati: When the common man can be thrown into jail (for failing to pay taxes), why cannot the government name these big tax evaders?
Baba Ramdev: Well, the Centre has all the names who have evaded taxes. This is entirely national wealth. Now look, around one lakh people in this country are involved in illegal mining. This is not at all their hard earned money. So, it is not only an issue of tax evasion, but people are also engaged in looting national resources. The government should not merely recover the black money from them, but they must also be thrown into jail.
Swati: Today, we are faced with gigantic issues like (corruption involving) CVC and (scam in allocation of) 2G (spectrum) but (our Telecom Minister) Kapil Sibal says these are not big things. Do you believe there is any hope left for this country?
Baba Ramdev: The Centre got A Raja arrested. In fact, they have protected Raja by placing someone else in the Telecom Ministry and tampering with the documents. Raja is now getting a five-star treatment in jail. Also, how can Sibal question a statutory body like the CAG?
Five years back, people were not willing to agree that corruption is a central issue in our country’s politics. But the people are aware now. We will not tolerate corruption anymore. We will conduct a signature campaign and hold a march this February 27. We will try to start an Egypt like movement in the country sans violence. There will be a revolution in the country. People will come out on the streets. We will not tolerate these corrupt people anymore.
Swati: Egypt just witnessed a revolution. Will there be a similar movement in India too?
Baba Ramdev: Mubarak was exposed. Delhi too will wake up on February 27 when more than one lakh people will gather (to protest against corruption).
The governments are deaf, dumb and blind. Can’t they see the hardship of the common man who is living in dire poverty? We will show them on March 23 something they can never imagine.
Swati: People say you are a supporter of the BJP. They question, why has a yoga guru entered politics? What do you have to say about this?
Baba Ramdev: When I started this movement, people said the corruption is not an issue. Now, it is an issue! I now conduct meetings involving around 2 lakh people every day.
Yes, I was pained when people doubted me, especially when I was trying to do something for the country. However, all that is now a dead issue. Has any politician ever got the love and affection, that I am getting, from the 120 crore people of this country?
I will teach yoga till my last breath, but I will also work to bring prosperity to this country. By 2020, India will be the top economy of the world.
Swati: You are again and again talking about corrupt people. Can you name any of these persons?
Baba Ramdev: About 90-99% of all those who are at the top of the political spectrum are corrupt. But yes, I don’t want to name any individual. These people, who are at the top of the government hierarchy, have looted the country.
In fact, I would recommend Narco tests for all citizens. Then the truth will come out automatically. I can name a few persons – two or three chief ministers and politicians – who are corrupt.
Swati: According to a research, in our current Parliament, all the leaders of the Congress party who are under the age of 30 belong to one or the other political family. What do you have to say on this prince culture?
Baba Ramdev: We won’t allow nepotism in this country anymore. They have to answer the people. Those who are saying that they will be the next prime minister, please visit villages once a year. I spend each day in a village. The poor and downtrodden people of this country will stand up one day. They won’t allow such nepotism.
Swati: Now let’s talk about one more important issue. Last year, one of the country’s highest civilian awards - the Padma Bhusan - was given to Sant Singh Chatwal. This year also, the government conferred the Padma award to Montek Singh Alhuwalia. His wife was also conferred with the Padma award sometime back. Do you think our country has become a plutocracy?
Baba Ramdev: When it comes to awards and recognition, there are only a few people who really deserve it. But most of those who praise the government usually get it. We have downgraded the importance of these awards.
The government can reward singers, but why does it fail to recognise those who have died for the country? Does Subhash Chandra Bose not deserve this award? Does Sardar Patel not deserve it? It is shameful.
Swati: Today, politicians are making a brand of themselves. Somebody becomes a representative of Dalits, while others choose some other caste. Do you feel sad about it?
Baba Ramdev: Today, Brahmins feel that I am close to them as I am well versed with shastras, while Kshatriyas feel I am like them because of my aggressive nature. Vaisyas too think I can bring prosperity to the country. Hence, the whole country is with me. On the other hand, (people who are resorting to the use of) such brand politics will (ultimately) divide the country. Whoever forms the government on such brand politics (should be asked) what have they done (for the country)?
Swati: Finally, I would like to ask about your message for the country.
Baba Ramdev: Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai; Dekhna hai zor kitna baazu-e-qaatil mein hai….
Swati: Thank you for coming on the show.
Anil Kumar Satapathy