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Ramdev launching party evokes cold response from political opponents

Sunday, 21 March 2010 - 1:23pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati frowned upon Ramdev's plans to turn electoral by asking the BSP workers not to fall in the trap of "such babas".

Politics is a different cup of tea, many babas and godmen have learnt the hard way.

But that has not deterred yoga Guru Baba Ramdev from announcing his plans to launch a political party which would contest all the 543 seats in Lok Sabha in next election.

Parties across the spectrum have not reacted with any enthusiasm to Baba Ramdev's plan.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati frowned upon Ramdev's plans to turn electoral by asking the BSP workers not to fall in the trap of "such babas".

BJP says that in a democratic country, everyone is free to form any political party.

But party spokesperson Prakash Javdekar said the baba should realise that he is revered by one and all for his dedication to yoga and proponent of the cause of India. "But once he establishes a political party, there will be some pro and some against," he said.

Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi feels what was important was not the declaration of the intent but the "actual demonstration of concrete public service achievement which remains to be seen in this case."

Equally not too optimistic about the future of the Ramdev's proposed venture was DP Tripathi of the NCP who said that people have always "taken care" of the babas.

"You remain where you are. The moment you try to change domain which is not yours, people reject you. People of India are much wiser than we expect them to be," is the message of Tripathi to all the babas nursing political ambitions.

Right from the first Lok Sabha elections, there were attempts and moves by those religiously inclined to enter the political arena.

The Ram Rajya Parishad led by Karpatri Maharaj was active in the first Lok Sabha polls and had even won three seats, equal to the erstwhile Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the earlier avatar of BJP.

Maharaj had a large following in North India, especially Uttar Pradesh and his party had received 1.97% votes in the first general elections in which in had put up 61 candidates.

The subsequent elections saw Ram Rajya Parishad's influence waning.

The 1980s saw the emergence of the Doordarshi Party, founded by Guru Jai Gurudev with a message of social reform and spiritual upliftment.

In 1989 general elections, it put up as many as 298 candidates in a dozen-odd states including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Delhi.

However, it drew a blank at the hustings. In nearly two decades of existence, it could not make any electoral impact and went out of the political radar.

The Anand Margis, founded by late Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar had also ventured into the poll fray through the Proutist Block of India and Amra Bangali.

The Anand Margis has remained a controversial organisation coming under attack from the Left as also from the Congress over their practices like skull dance.

Amra Bangali especially fought elections in West Bengal and Tripura in the Eighties, but with virtually no success.

The Transcendal Meditation guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi attempts to enter politics through Ajay Bharat party which contested elections in the late nineties in Madhya Pradesh had also come a cropper.

The party was launched with a former Congress man and Madhya Pradesh minister Mukesh Nayak as its chief but despite having lots of resources, it could not get much grassroot support. It was virtually a one election wonder.

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