Yoga guru Baba Ramdev met BJP chief Nitin Gadari to seek support for his campaign against black money and corruption on Monday. Gadkari not only pledged his party's support but created a flutter within the party when he touched Ramdev's feet, saying it was a mark of respect and he saw nothing wrong seeking his "blessings".
But, not everyone in the party is comfortable with this proximity to Ramdev, whose financial dealings and aides are under scrutiny for alleged misappropriation of funds. In August last year, Gadkari had ruffled several feathers in the party, when he had declared that the "BJP would stand behind Anna Hazare". Subsequently, many senior BJP leaders had aired their differences with Team Anna on the Lokpal issue.
According to those close to Gadkari, his gesture was meant to convey BJP’s complete support to the yoga guru, who has several followers in North India. Besides, a section of the RSS backs Ramdev who, unlike Hazare, acknowledges Sangh's help.
Justifying his reasons for backing Ramdev, Gadkari said, "The fight against black money is not a political agitation but a national agitation. We will support anybody who takes up this fight. Just as Mahatma Gandhi had told the British to go back, Ramdev is demanding that the black money be brought back."
Gadkari also thinks that Ramdev's movement will benefit the BJP as it is the opposition party that the voters will turn to when they "vent" their feelings against the UPA.
He also criticised Congress president Sonia Gandhi's remarks against the opposition and civil society. "Sonia Gandhi's allegations against Baba Ramdev are baseless. Is it anti-national to demand that Indian black money be brought back for the country's well-being? I feel she should not have done so..."