From being a yoga guru to getting political, Baba Ramdev has come a long way over the past few years. He has been in the news recently for objecting to Sachin Tendulkar’s nomination to the Rajya Sabha as also for calling MPs robbers, illiterate and devils.
In a free-wheeling chat with Swati Chaturvedi of Zeenews.com on her chat show Kahiye Janab, the yoga guru shares his views on the controversies surrounding him, why he is no more a simple person and his political career.
Here are the excerpts:
Swati: Baba once used to teach yoga and was very simple, but today he is surrounded by controversies, is upset and makes meaningless remarks without facts? Why?
Ramdev: There are critics whose character is black, they have black money; we should not be bothered by their remarks. It’s wrong to say I ‘used’ to teach yoga; I still teach yoga. People trained by me also teach yoga. I have never said anything without facts, without meaning.
Swati: You were once a darling of the country. But when you spoke against homosexuality, people started asking, why?
Ramdev: When I talked about homosexuality 99.9 per cent people agreed with me and they still do. I don’t need the support of 0.1 per cent misguided people. Regarding black money also, I have made claims backed by facts and statistics.
Swati: People like Digvijay Singh say when Baba talks about black money, he needs to look in the mirror.
Ramdev: People have already given answer to such people, shown them their rightful place. They talk without thinking. If you think you can recover black money from me, then do it and give me 10 times the punishment prescribed in the law.
Swati: People say when Anna (Hazare) talks about corruption, nobody can point fingers at him as his life is clean as a mirror. However, when it comes to you, you are one of the most ‘high-flying’ babas of this country. Your empire is worth crores. You are in fact an MNC.
Ramdev: People had made similar allegations against Annaji, the same people then had to apologise to him. I have served over 11 crore people; have done everything with the help of donations from these people. I still sleep on the ground, work almost 24 hours everyday, and have simple food. I have neither purchased land worth a rupee, nor have any personal bank account worth a paisa.
Swati: Now that you are attacking Congress party and raising questions about Sachin’s Rajya Sabha nomination, people are asking why are you doing all this?
Ramdev: If the government really wanted to honour Sachin, then he should have been awarded the Bharat Ratna. Sachin needs to think how he is entering Rajya Sabha. Sachin is not being awarded Bharat Ratna because of politics. If Sachin wants to get used by a party, what can we do to stop it?
Swati: In hindsight, while looking back at your campaign at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, do you think what you did was right?
Ramdev: Their (the government’s) motive was to kill Baba Ramdev, like Rajbala, that night. They had sent an email in advance warning Baba’s life was at threat from terrorists. If I was afraid, why would I have started the campaign? I am doing only what is good for the country.
Swati: It’s not just the partymen but the entire nation is saying, Baba is targeting the Congress party.
Ramdev: It’s only them who are saying I am targeting the Congress party. I am only targeting black money and corruption.
Swati: Do you think corruption has infested only one party. What about the BJP whose Bangaru Laxman was recently convicted for corruption in a fake defence deal?
Ramdev: I have been saying again and again, we are not targeting any single party.
Swati: You are holding a joint fast along with Anna on June 3. A core committee member of Team Anna has said on this very programme that they have nothing to do with Baba Ramdev. That they are not going to give any certificate to him; that they don’t know whether he is against black money or not.
Ramdev: When did I seek a certificate from him? Why are you asking such a question? As far as Annaji is concerned, there are several good members in Team Anna. I was associated with him long before his team members joined him. There are no differences between us. We have decided we will support Anna on the corruption issue and Annaji will support us on the black money issue. Annaji has clearly said that we will come together on stage for these issues when need arises, but we never said the two campaigns will merge. The intention behind such questions in not right. Especially corrupt corporates and politicians have not liked Anna and Ramdev’s coming together.
Swati: You had said two years back on this programme that you will form a political party and fight elections. What happened to that?
Ramdev: Don’t put words in my mouth. I had said, the issues we are raising, both the government and Parliament should address them or else only those people who will address these issues will go to Parliament in next elections and bring back black money. I have never said I will form a political party or occupy any political post. It is my bheesham pratigya that I will never derive any political benefit or occupy political position.
Adaptation: Deepak Nagpal