Once hounded by the authorities for alleged tax evasion and land grabbing, yoga guru Ramdev’s ‘acche din’ seems to have arrived with the change of guard at the centre.
The Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – the guiding light of the ruling BJP – will hold a three-day mega convention from Friday at Ramdev’s sprawling Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar.
Political observers as well as Ramdev’s critics said the RSS decision will only reaffirm what was known all along, the yoga guru’s proximity to the saffron brigade.
However, the RSS’ Uttarakhand head Dr Harish said “there is nothing to read between the lines”.
“The RSS organises programmes in tents and this time we needed huge space to accommodate thousands (of attendees)… hence the decision to hold the convention at Patanjali,” said the RSS leader.
Around five thousand delegates – mostly college-going youth – are expected to attend the convention which will be addressed by RSS head Mohan Bhagwat among others.
Ramdev’s relationship with the previous UPA regime at the centre was at best bitter, highlighted by the government’s crackdown on his agitation at the Ram Lila grounds in Delhi in June, 2011.
Later, Ramdev and his associate Acharya Balkrishan had faced many cases slapped against them by central government agencies and the Congress government in Uttarakhand.
The cases related to alleged tax evasion, land grab and evasion of revenue.
In 2013, the Uttarakhand government had slapped as many as 81 cases against Ramdev and his Patanjali Trust for alleged cases of tax evasion and violation of land laws.
Sources said that ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over in Delhi, the different probe agencies have “gone soft” on Ramdev and his associate.
The Harish Rawat-led Congress government in Uttarakhand too has taken a “flexible view” on Ramdev because of his proximity to the Modi government, the sources added.
In fact, last month Rawat’s government even arranged a government chopper for Ramdev for a trip to Kedarnath.
Surender Kumar, media in-charge in the chief minister’s office, said the government would not act in a vindictive manner.
“Let the probe agencies do their work,” Kumar added.
Balkrishan, however, admitted that they are no more subjected to humiliation after a more friendly government at the centre. Ramdev was, however, not available for comments.
Jay Singh Rawat, a political observer, said that Ramdev was indispensable for the BJP.
“In the wake of the Congress’ growing closeness with Ramdev in recent times, the RSS intends to send out the message that they and the BJP are with Ramdev. The RSS convention supports this theory,” Rawat added.